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Friday, February 13, 2009

You Call That Music?! Why, In My Day…

Once again, I’ve summoned the powers behind the mysterious iPod shuffle. What is in store for me? Eeny-meany jelly-beany, the spirits are about to speak (with much thanks to Rocky and Bullwinkle).

Sunday Papers by Joe Jackson
In Our Nature by Jose Gonazalez
White Lines by Grandmaster Flash
Mississippi Queen by Mountain
Born to Wander by Rare Earth
Tequila and Chocolate by Medesky Scofield Martin and Wood
Pioneer to the Falls by Interpol
Frank’s Wild Years by Tom Waits

Hmmm. Sounds a bit schizophrenic. Maybe I should stay in this weekend.

You know, in some ways, I’ve been divining my future by music all my life.

I am, after all, the daughter of a drummer.

I was raised on Big Band music. Nowadays that sounds quaint, because there are people (young) out there that assume someone in their 40s would naturally have been raised during the Swing Era.

That’s wrong. Get yer musical eras straight!

Anyway, while the rest of the kids in the ‘70s were listening to rock and/or roll, I was being schooled on the finer points of Krupa versus Rich, on the intricacies of a Goodman solo and why Ellington was a god.

You can imagine how popular my incredible knowledge of this genre made me amongst the other Big Band freaks in high school.

Ha ha!

Other Big Band freaks in high school? Yeah. No. There weren’t any.

And this also explains why playing “air” clarinet is not nearly as cool as one would think.

I played “old time” music for Al Derke’s Melody Makers throughout high school in a band that could swell from three players to 30. Schottisches, polkas, mazurkas? I got yer happy-hoppin’ music right here! Ever heard of a "Polka Mass"? Polish Catholics dig it. Picture a cultural/religious event that, told as a joke, would start with the line "A polka band and a priest walk into a ballroom..."

This is yet another activity that does not garner admiration from, well, anyone.

I still don’t know how it happened, but my first “rock” album purchase, in 10th grade, was Kiss’s “Destroyer”.

It all went to hell from there. From the Dorsey Brothers to the Chmielewski Fun Time Hour to Kiss to the Buzzcocks to all manner of musical decadence, I slid into a tattered blue jean and palmed-up-hair world. Iggy Pop wanted to be my dog, and I wanted to let him.

Today, there are very few styles of music that I don’t like. When pressed, I will admit that I don’t care for house music. Tunes being smooshed into each other, stealing the musical “hooks” from one song to play endlessly to a synthesized beat? Where’s the passion? How am I going to dance properly without a live drummer?

You call that music?!

But, hey. Live and let live has been my motto since, well, since I killed that guy; and so far, it’s working. I don’t really mind what you’re listening to unless it’s coming through the floorboards at 3:00 a.m.

And that’s another post.


darsden said...

oooooh Mississippi Queen are ya calling me Pearl, I am right behind ya..lol

Anonymous said...

Ohmigod! My mother-in-law made me listen to a Polka mass. Yes, she had a recording which she was sure I would love and insisted on playing for me.

I didn't know what to do. I'm a terrible actress when it comes to saying things like:

"Wow. That is some...interesting music...there."

Still giggling over the air clarinet.

darsden said...

Pearl, just wanted to mention a shout out to my Papa & Mimi, in heaven. They had the Dixie Land Band down here on the coast when I was growing up. I remember watching them and how much fun they had together, good memories. Thanks :-)

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

Sigh.... the blogger monster just ate my LONG comment. I HATE it when that happens.
Let's see if I can recreate....
1. I want to go to a party at your place. :)
2. Humor those of us that aren't familiar with some of the songs on your list by occasionally embedding a playlist in your post. :) playlist.com works well, but there are tons of good ones out there.
3. Hey, I like house music!!

IB said...

I am listening to Kiss' "Detroit Rock City", right now!


Pearl said...

Darsden, wouldja believe I actually thought of you this morning when I heard it?!

Tentativeequinox, but didn’t you feel clean and at peace afterwards?! Those were SUCH funny gigs.

Darsden, that’s very nice. I do love the old music, the folk and regional music. Makes me proud, and if ya get enough beer in me, I get all nostalgic. :-)

Ah, Amy! That’s the very reason I now type all my comments and responses to comments in Word first. The first time you write it, it’s clever – the second and third time it becomes some sort of weird CHORE… And I absolutely will try the embedding thing. I’m not the most clueless person with this sort of stuff, but I can SEE that person from my place in line, if ya know what I mean… OK OK playlist.com. I’ll give it a shot!

IB, I’m pretty sure I know every word to that one!

swenglishexpat said...

I am with you when it comes to house music, any machine music really, and I don't like modern country very much, but I basically like the rest, all of it. On my big iPod I have all my music copied from CDs and newly bought from iTunes. On my shuffle I have modern stuff like James Morrison, Duffy, Adele, Amy W, Oasis. The latest I bought was Seasick Steve! Slightly older but a great guy!

underOvr (aka The U) said...

In your day, huh Pearl?

You've impressed me with your selections. Joe Jackson, Mountain, Rare Earth and Tom Waits along with your musical bio tell me a tad bit more about the woman you are.

Thanks for sharing,


Pearl said...

Swenglish, I like how you think. Variety IS the spice of life, not to mention that it helps keep one on top of things!

UnderOVR, thank you. I like to be challenged musically, artistically. Keeps my brain from hardenning. :-)

mbuna53 said...

Ellington was fantastic and his music still is sublime. Sun Ra made some pretty cool big band music, while some of his outfits would make a Parliment Funkidelic member jealous. Charles Mingus made some excellent recording of Ellington tunes.

As for polskas....if you want a hard rockin' polska you know who to listen to......

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Big Band music, it was my fathers favorite and I still have his time-life collection of records. My wife and I have them on CD and they make the best traveling music!

Like some of the other posters here, I seem to find something I like in almost every genre of music. My latest love is actually "Jackie Greene" Heard him at the Sandpoint, ID music festival. Can you believe it? A place where you can hall your lawn chair or blanket in, with your cooler in tow, its ok to have a beer in your hand or a glass of wine. We listen to music all night for a week. It is THE best time. Bruce Cockburn, another favorite of mine was there the year before. Now where else can you listen to live music, famous live music at that, and bring in your own adult beverages, lie around in the grass, dance till you drop and its LEGAL?

Sandpoint, Idaho...wow I actually miss it!

Jeanne said...

Observation: Reading the phrase "air clarinet" while eating lunch at one's desk will cause the (snorted) food to fall back into the little Lean Cuisine tray.

Perhaps your blog should come with a warning....

Kavi said...

3.00 AM post eagerly awaited. For i too suffer from similiar plights !

Pearl said...

Mbuna53, you’ll get no argument from me! Polska? I thought “polska” was Polish for, um, Polish???

Jackba, Big Band is still one of my favorite kinds of music. I love it. Have you heard of the Big Bad VooDoo Daddies? Go to playlist.com and look them up. You might enjoy hem.
And I agree with you about outdoor music festivals. I hear there’s a place in I think Utah for this? Red Rock?

Jeanne, I’m glad you enjoyed the air clarinet visual. I have to admit I was chuckling while I wrote it.

Kavi, ah, yes the downstairs people. What fun! While I enjoy their ebullience, I also enjoy my sleep. I am sure this will be a blog soon!

Not The Rockefellers said...

So funny! We had the exact same childhood.

I remember my Dad stopping us to listen to the "Krupa beat"

Y'hear that, kids? That's the Krupa beat.

Polka Mass?! I almost had forgotten that.

Love your Ipod! You should do a Pearl's Ultimate Playlist!

Peace - Rene

Pearl said...

Seriously Rene?! My dad made me stand between the speakers for YEARS!! "ya hear that? ya hear that?" "Yeah,Dad, I hear that."
You have no idea how amused I am right now, Rene!

Kevin Musgrove said...

Does this only happen to girls? A friend of mine (from Glasgow) was made to do Musical Appreciation of the sound of Gene Krupa on the family radiogram.

I think that's cruel. If it were me, it would have been Fletcher Henderson and Red Allen.

Pearl said...

Kevin, Fletcher Henderson?! What were they, Communists?!
I don't know what it was about Krupa. Maybe the snare work. And the hair.

Braja said...

My father was a big band man too, Pearl...he was even the bandmaster. Seriously. I feel your pain...er... beat...

Lisa said...

'music is my life, my life is music'
Jackson browne has provided me with so much over the last 29 years- a song for each moment often say.
Lisa xx

Gadjo Dilo said...

:-) When I was a kid in the 70s I went to see Woody Herman and The Herd at Hemel Hempstead town hall (being American you won't appreciate how strange a combo that is). Then when I wanted to be Louis Armstrong - had the trumpet but not the ability.

Pearl said...

Braja, it’s amazing how much music touches our lives, isn’t it?

Lisa, it says what we can’t say.

Gadjo Dilo, I saw Woody Herman and His Thunder Herd in Minneapolis in 1978 in a high school auditorium. We danced in our seats…

mbuna53 said...

Polska is what the Hoven Droven boys calls 'em.

I'm listening to some XTC in honor of Valentine's Day.

"I'm the man who murdered love
Yeah, what do you think to that?"

Vic said...

I pretty much love everything on your list. One of my favorite things to do is put Tom Waits on in the car, just to torture the kids. (and because I love him.)

Wish I had a Big Band background. You already know my Hee Haw origins, which is way worse than air clarinet.

Ann's Rants said...

AIR CLARINET?? You rule.

SweetPeaSurry said...

I don't listen to much music at all. I have a stereo ... that I use to amp up my television watching, or to listen to talk radio. (I can't miss Glenn Beck, now can I?) I used to listen to top 40 when I was in Highschool ... and if the stereo comes on in my car, that's where it goes. I think I might have a total of 10 CD's collected over the years. I might actually be mixing up some of my game discs with those as well though.

I do LOVE to swing dance though, and I did quite a bit of it in my college years. I can hit that music ... yeah.

nsiyer said...

Amazing! Heard from Kavi, you are in India. If you come over to Mumbai, we can help.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I have become a music junkie myself lately. I simply can't get enough of my little old iPod. I love some big band stuff though. They really knew what music was back then!

Steve said...

Air clarinet?! Now that's one mime that could be misconstrued in any number of wrong ways...! Some of which could have made you very popular!

Michelle said...


PEARLY-Q music is my life, my soul, my first and last love!!!

Ok, that sounds insane!!! All I know is even when i am sleeping i hear the music!!!!

Again, sounds insane!!!