Monday, August 01, 2011

What Did You Listen to Today?

I was posting at an online forum on a thread "What did you listen to today?". I afraid it was something I did, like posting pictures like this, anyhow the account got suspended. So my online sand castles got washed away. I didn't save all the posts, but did save a few. I thought to post some of them here.

Aside from reformatting them into HTML from BB formatting, I'm a bit curious about what stuff I said about myself there I'm leery about saying here. Ha, these posts seem innocuous enough.

Let Me See Your ID (YouTube)

Gil Scott Heron passed away May 27th and so lots of people have been posting remembrances of him, but today saw this song posted from the Artist United Against Apartheid Sun City album. I've never been cool, my copy of this is on a cassette tape. The whole project never really caught fire with the national imagination. Steven Van Zandt founded Artists Against Apartheid and I think some people who listened to the record were looking for an E Street Band kind of vibe and then wondered what was up with all the Rap. I never really listened to this album with others much, but this track is one I listened to over and over.

I liked to make mix tapes for my own amusement and kept trying to fit this track in mixes and I don't think I really was ever successful, not the least of the reasons was I probably only ever had like 50 albums or something. This talk about cassettes makes me think about the time of music scarcity. It's very nice that music is so available today and it makes it hard to imagine what it was like when it was so much more scarce; like when there were only 3 TV channels. One of the cassette tapes I had though was Sun City and I think because of that, and maybe also because of hearing The Specials Free Nelson Mandela I very distinctly remember where I was the minute I heard the news that F.W. de Klerk had announced that Nelson Mandela was to be released from prison. It was one of those "pinch yourself" moments where the news was too hard to believe.

I had only heard of Gil Scott Heron from many years earlier with his piece The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. I can't place where I first heard that, my brain searches way back to 1970 when I was in high school, but I really wonder if that's right. I can't figure out how I would have heard it--you can be sure it wasn't on the radio in Charlotte, North Carolina at the time. Then my mind forwards to about 1974 when I was in college, which makes more sense cause that's when the version with a band behind it was released. Then zooming in to a bar in East Liberty, Pennsylvania in about 1976. It's possible it was on the Juke Box, but I'm suspicious of my memory. I know I'd heard The Revolution Will Not Be Televised but honestly don't remember when and figuring out where and how doesn't really add up to me.

What I take from my memory that I heard Gil Scott Heron is that obscurity doesn't mean no influence. Gil Scott Heron wasn't obscure, just not played in the mass media. Yet I heard The Revolution Won't Be Televised and noticed. Even if what we do is as small as a bee sting, a bee sting isn't nothing, a bee sting is noticed.

Trouble Everyday (YouTube)

My previous post made me think of mushy memories and subversive record albums. I don't remember when I first heard Freak Out! my mind places me in a particular location probably in 1969, but I'm not too sure. However I do have a distinct memory of when I first saw the Album. It was 1967 in the Woolworths in Greenville, South Carolina. I noticed it because it was hung high up along with other "blue" records. Here's a blog post I wrote about that album and my high school days back in 2006.


DaisyDeadhead said...

Woolworths is now a big hole in the ground. They are supposedly building some high-end mall there, do you BELIEVE?

FWIW, I "offend" people online all the time, have been banned even for leaving flattering comments. Really. I think it must be the redneckish patois or something--or maybe people are just spooked by anyone "different" (than they are) visiting their domains? I have given up trying to understand. If I think a comment is wacky or bizarre but generally well-intentioned (even if they don't agree w/me) --I leave it up. (Even some of the spam if it looks like a real human did it and not a bot.)

As for "The revolution will not be televised"--of course it will. ;) And that singular fact/realization has dated the song terribly. Also, the kids don't know most of the cultural references; they think "Julia" is Julia Roberts. The reference to "Rare Earth" seems out-of-place and odd. At the time, it was well-known that they were the first (the only?) white rock band to sign with Motown, which was seen as racial heresy in some musician circles. But everyone has forgotten that now, and they have likely forgotten Rare Earth too (I didn't; I saw them live back in the day, and they rocked the freaking house)... the TV shows he mentions are also extinct. Although the kids can follow the Beverly Hillbillies comment (since he mentions several TV shows in a row), they are usually lost when he gets to "Search for Tomorrow"--the way he says it, it doesn't sound like a TV show and it isn't clear what he refers to. If he'd said simply "soap operas"--would not have been as witty, but it would have aged better.

I'd actually enjoy an updated version, by someone classy enough to mention Gil Scott Heron's name in the updated lyrics.

PS--word verification: faugho... LOL, she isn't a real ho, she's a ... LOL...

DaisyDeadhead said...

Hey John, remember what I wrote on Facebook about Ben's death? Happened again, with someone else.

I like the part about reconnecting with people, but this huge (and unexpected) grief that can go along with it is tough. I guess young people don't really know about that aspect of it yet, as we do.

Drop by and read about my friend. :) She was a gem, you would have just loved her.


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