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Thursday, August 6, 2009

You HEAR That Sonuvagun?!


Here we are again, sneaking up on the weekend. What with Fridays off and all, Thursday night has gotten new life and poor Friday’s been downgraded from the giddiness of the last working day of the week to a day in which to catch up on my laundry.

Funny how anticipation is often better than the real thing.

With that in mind, let’s proceed, shall we, to the iPod’s prediction for the weekend?

I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night by The Electric Prunes
Hem of Your Garment by Cake
16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six by Tom Waits
Saturday Fantastic by Diamond Nights
YYZ by Rush
Hurricane by Jamie Lidell

Oh, we’re all over the place here. I say we all head into the basement with a blender, a 50-pound bag of ice and the liquor store’s number on speed dial. They’ll deliver; and if we talk real purdy they’ll stop and pick up Chinese food, too.

Are you with me?!


I learned to listen to music, growing up, through my father’s weekend ministrations.

The man was in love with the stereo.

A connoisseur of swing music in particular, I was his chosen child, She Who Stands Between The Speakers.

“Stand right here,” he would shout over the music, ushering me to an oddly matted spot on the living room carpet. “No, over here – Pearl! Pearl! Are you listening to me? Come here! Come here!"

There it was, the best spot to stand in order to receive the full affect of whatever he was listening to, there in the living room between the speakers.

I was one of the few 4th graders I knew who could accurately identify a drummer by song, timbre, or style.

OK. I was the only 4th grader I knew that could accurately identify a drummer by song, timbre, or style.

You’d think this would garner a cult-like following of my fellow 4th graders, wouldn’t you? Ah, but you’d be wrong there, my friend. No matter where we moved, my ability to tell Chick Corea from Buddy Rich was never fully appreciated.

You can imagine my surprise.

“You hear that? You hear that?” he’d say; and my father, in the middle of conducting the imaginary 40-piece orchestra in the middle of the trailer park living room would dash to the stereo, picking up the needle.

“Now listen,” he’d say. “Listen for the high-hat – you know what the high-hat is, right?”

“Da-ad!!” He was forever quizzing me on the names of the various pieces that make up a drum kit, who played what in which band, wanting to know if I preferred the recorded or the live versions of songs.

Oh, Dad. Questioning me on the cymbals? I would shake my head in disgust. Who does he think he’s dealing with here?

And then he’d drop the needle.

“OK – wait. Listen! You hear that?! You hear that sonuvagun play?” Dad was a passionate fan of the drums, being a drummer himself, and had a reverence for Gene Krupa in particular that bordered on the religious.

And after years of listening, I find I do the same thing to my son – a professional drummer – and I finally see what the music really is, why the stamp of music geek was placed on my brow so many years ago, and why the matted spot on that “Harvest Gold” shag was the best place in the living room.

It wasn’t – and it isn’t – just the music.

It’s the sharing of what makes you really happy.



I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

18 comments:

ellen abbott said...

That's a great story Pearl. My children are grown so it's my grandchildren that have to stand on 'the spot'.

f8hasit said...

THAT is an awesome post.
And you're right...it's what we pass on that's the coolest.

I love the "She who stands between the speakers".
My dad was a engineer/scientist. I was "she who stands between the beakers". I wish my dad had been into the stereo instead.
:-)

mapstew said...

Amen Sister!

AMEN.

xxx

Douglas said...

And how is your hearing now?

I would play the greatest music of my generation (Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Band, etc) almost constantly.

So what does my son like? Rap "music" (oxymoron).

*sigh*

Ah well, I drifted back to 50s rock and roll and the swing era myself...

Jules said...

Wow. That's awesome! I had friends in college who would ask me questions like that and I'd just stare at them. Your dad really passed on something great!

mbuna53 said...

I hate to say it Pearl, but Chick Corea is a keyboard player, not a drummer.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Love this post! So poignant and well written.

Douglas said...

mbuna53, click on THIS

Lynn said...

Wonderful post!
Your daddy sounds like he was a lot like mine, only he picked out all of the instruments.

mbuna53 said...

Al di Meola can play drums to, but I would still call him a guitarist.

Pearl said...

Hey -- I was actually thinking "Chick Webb" when I wrote "Chick Corea", but Corea's still a pretty decent drummer, isn't he?!

Not The Rockefellers said...

I think we were separated at birth if that is at all possible..well, in my universe it is...Y'hear that? y'hear that, sweetheart? That's the Krupa beat...

And I knew about Bird waaay the hell before Big Bird

Peace - Rene

mbuna53 said...

Yes, yes he is.

Irish Gumbo said...

Oh, Pearl...

Tom Waits
YYZ
Buddy Rich

and Gene Krupa?

Another reason why I have a crush on you...sigh...

darsden said...

I am in the basement :-)

The Retired One said...

Right ON!

I had to laugh because when we took our girls camping, my husband would constantly quiz the girls as to what kind of trees we were hiking by...they learned them all.
Now as adults, they can name any kind of tree by species and laugh at how they hated it when they were younger...but they are proud they know them now.
ha

Kavi said...

Awesome post.

And what we pass on is more important than what we keep for. Especially, when it comes to generations !

And you did all that in 4th grade. Thats something

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

Ooooh.

I love this story.