The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
I’ve always loved music, and tend to have a song playing in my head much of the time, whatever I’m doing. Which may sound strange, especially since neither me, nor my siblings (or for that matter our parents) showed any significant sign of being “musical”. Other than the usual teenage-angst thing of playing guitar, I can’t remember any of us actually picking up a musical instrument.
But we had relatives and friends aplenty who made up for our shortcomings in this respect, and the house I grew up in reverberated much of the day (and possibly even more of the night) with music. There was music everywhere.
This, despite growing up before television, and before the video recorder had made its messy inroads into our lives. This, despite the frequent paucity of electrical power and the relative absence of battery-driven solid-state radios.
For the most part, the music we listened to was based on vinyl, sometimes lacquer, and the sounds scratched their way through turntables and valve amplifiers through simple sturdy speakers. In later years the cassette player became the norm, given its then-unprecedented capacity to work on mains power as well as on battery. And we listened and swayed and sang along. And we even learnt to dance…. to Leonard Cohen…
Wonderful times. We were very privileged, there were some very talented musicians around then. And I’ve considered myself incredibly lucky to have been able to watch many of them “live” in later years, a trend that continues to this day. So for example in the last few years I’ve seen Steve Winwood, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Crosby Stills and Nash, Donovan, Don McLean, Cat Stevens, just to name a few.
I still have a bunch of their vinyl albums (and, thankfully, the ability to add to that collection as the vinyl gets retro-reissued).
I still have a bunch of their works on pre-recorded cassette tape (though I no longer have a cassette tape recorder in the house).
I still have a few thousand CDs of their works.
And I still go to watch them in concert. [Those that are still alive, that is].
If you’ve followed me on twitter (where I exist as @jobsworth) or directly at blip.fm/jobsworth, you’ve probably noticed that I tend to listen to a very narrow band of music, deeply engrossed in the period 1966-73, with occasional forays into the world that existed before and after. This is for a number of reasons.
Time. I can only listen to so much music.
Familiarity. It’s the music I grew up with, music that I’ve heard many many times.
Preference. I happen to like the styles, the genres, the whole nine yards. Everything about the music of the time.
But there’s one more reason.
An important reason.
The music was *brilliant*. And continues to be brilliant. From a time when singer-songwriters were the norm, when musicians actually played musical instruments, when the word harmony was to do with voices and not perfume, when lyrics were worth learning.
Now I’m showing my age. Every age is entitled to its music. I’m just glad my age had the music it did.
Here are a bunch of reasons why. And you know something? I could write a hundred posts like this, and still not run out of songs. So if you haven’t heard of them, do listen. And run to your favourite download site. And buy the ones you like. [And for those of you familiar with the music already, I hope I’ve contributed to your lazy Sunday.]