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.