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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ya HEAR That Sonuvagun? Listen. Listen...

A repost from this date, 2011.  I hate not being able to write -- work has consumed me -- but I do love this piece...


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 carpet between the speakers on that “Harvest Gold” shag was the best spot in the living room.

It's not just music we're sharing.

We're sharing history.


vanilla said...

I love it too. I admire your father for teaching you the love of something special.

Daisy said...

I CAN hear the music, the love and the laughter in that living room!:-)
Thanks Pearl. And remember, you are not working-you are gathering material for stories. Hope you have a good day.

Pearl said...

vanilla, he couldn't help himself. :-) He loved it too much.

Daisy, thank you. It's a lousy thing, when you want to write but don't have time. Ridiculous.

jenny_o said...

I love this piece of yours, too, Pearl. I think in the original you had a link to a Gene Krupa drum solo which was MY introduction to him, and it was fantastic. I am jealous I didn't have your in-house musical training!

She Who Stands Between the Speakers is also She Who Stands Between the Generations, it seems :)

Ms Scarlet said...

I'm pleased that nobody has ever questioned me on the cymbals. I'm not sure what I would say.

NotesFromAbroad said...

The Baby Boy was pretty well versed in Gene Krupa but mostly Mozart and Beethoven.. I don't think his school friends were impressed.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Like good music, good posts are the better for being replayed! YAM xx

Geo. said...

Thanks for sharing history, Pearl, from "between the speakers" --that's full of cymbalism.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Ohhhh. I love this! And I love that your son is a drummer. What a beautiful way of coming full circle.

Chicken said...

Love this, Pearl. I'm glad you reposted.

sage said...

I enjoy your memoir pieces.

Catalyst/Taylor said...

Anyone who shared Gene Krupa had to be a great and knowledgeable part of your past.

Diane Tolley said...

I love this! Sharing history? Making history!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I am sitting in the middle of the room now. I feel it; I feel it! It is that warm feeling in my heart that has taken over while reading this beautiful, sentimental post.

Geezers said...

Delightful post. Thanks for sharing it again.

Daisy said...

Lovely. You got the music in you, Pearl. :)

Jocelyn said...

This post makes me ask: have you seen BOYHOOD? If not, please do. As soon as you can. I know seeing a three-hour movie will eat up potential writing time, but just re-run another fabulous post from the past, and go see that movie.