Friday, August 8, 2008

Musical Genus

I was having this discussion
In a taxi heading downtown
Rearranging my position
On this friend of mine who had
A little bit of a breakdown

~Paul Simon, Gumboots

When Ben and I were out for dinner the other night I asked him what kinds of music he listens to these days. I was interested for two reasons - one, because I think that the music people listen to tells much about them; two, because I wanted to see how much my predilections for various artists had influenced his life.

I wasn't disappointed on either count. In fact, I was quite pleased to find out that Bruce Springsteen is one of the artists he still likes listening too. I was definitely a Boss freak back in my nanny days. I still enjoy listening to his stuff, although in my old age my tendencies turn more toward a bluesy-rock sound. Still... Da Boss can rock it, and the poetry in his lyrics always, always revs my engine. 'Sides, ain't nothin' like cruisin' down the street with Thunder Road or Born to Run rockin' at full volume. I digress. The song that unfailingly reminds me of Ben, because I used to sing it to him and dance him around (when he was only 3 feet tall and picking him up was still possible) is Little Feat's Dixie Chicken: "If you'll be my Dixie chicken, I'll be your Tennessee lamb. And we can walk together down in Dixieland." Another favorite of Ben's is Paul Simon's Graceland CD, which is also still one of mine. I listened to that one more often than I care to admit while I was with the boys.
It was in the early morning hours
When I fell into a phone call
Believing I had supernatural powers
I slammed into a brick wall

~Paul Simon, Gumboots

It got me thinking about the musical influences in my life, especially because I have such an eclectic taste in music. One such was my eldest brother, Mike. I know I got my love for all things Jim Croce (R.I.P.) from Mike. And so many others... CCR, Buffalo Springfield... all the good "oldies." I notice a difference in my musical tastes that are very obviously linked to me having older siblings - differences that don't seem as prevalent in my peers. After all, at 4 years old, I probably would have chosen Cap'n Kanagroo over The Doors (Riders on the Storm used to scare the bejesus out of me... "there's a killer on the road, his brain is squirmin' like a toad").

I was thinking of all of this as I was driving down the road yesterday on my way out to Issaquah. Ironically, just as I started contemplating it, the song that rolled onto my iPod was Bruce's Born to Run. Even more ironically (gave me the heebie-jeebies, in fact) was that it was immediately followed by Croce's Lover's Cross. Keep in mind that I have almost 1000 songs on my iPod, by at least 150 different artists. My brain is currently too overloaded to work the odds, but... weird how stuff like that often happens to me. Makes me wonder if I'm living in some movie script with a really good soundtrack. (And you wonder why I wonder if I'm crazy!)
I was walking down the street
When I thought I heard this voice say
Say, ain't we walking down the same street together
On the very same day
I said hey Senorita that's astute
I said why don't we get together
And call ourselves an institute

~Paul Simon, Gumboots

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