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Perhaps it’s a generational thing, but even before the ripe old age of ten, I was listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, the Benny Goodman Trio, Les Paul and Mary Ford, the Dave Brubeck Quartet and singing along to standards like Autumn Leaves, Skylark, Stardust and all the great songs coming outta Tin Pan Alley.

Photo of Ella Fitzgerald

Les Paul, Mary Ford

It might have been to the fact that my old man was a pianist and singer who hosted his own radio program called The Melody Maker and being surrounded by music.

Or it might have had to do with music being one of the few childhood hobbies around at that time, and way before being inundated by so many distractions and so much clutter that have intruded so badly into personal priorities and personal time management so that we get our priorities short-circuited and go running after paper planes.

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Remember the sheer joy of buying a record or even a CD purely because of the BACKING musicians?

These were studio musicians like Hal Blaine, Larry Knetchel and Joe Osborne of the Wrecking Crew, Glen Campbell and Leon Russell and all part of creating Phil Spector’s enormous 4-track Wall Of Sound, those great unsung- and unpaid heroes behind every great Motown record, and later, buying records because they featured session drummers like Steve Gadd, the tragic Jim Gordon who co-wrote Layla with Clapton before bludgeoning his mother to death as his inner demons were never properly understand at that time and is still in prison, the “Beatles drummer” Jim Keltner and guitarists who seemed to play for everyone- Jesse Ed David, Waddy Wachtell, Danny Kortchmar, Eliot Randall etc.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3pRBF8c17E

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This was home schooling that has served many of us well- the type of home schooling we created for ourselves because of this incredible passion and inspiration and support system music gave us to decide which ways we wanted our lives to unfold, how music helped us to see both sides then and now and why we wanted to be with those whom we could share ideas and where no one stood on ceremony.

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It was intuitively knowing when in a band that one could segue so easily from A Hard Days Night to I Should Have Known or how You Really Got Me would meet Louie Louie at the traffic lights with a Wild Thing waiting in the alley with Sally to join the party.

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Music wasn’t sheet music or any exacting science, but something happening internally in your goo goo gum drop and a roller coaster Motown ride you never wanted to leave in case you couldn’t get back on.

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And then Dylan came along, the great Rock writers of Creem, Crawdaddy and Rolling Stone happened, Lennon stopped being a Fab, the Walrus was Paul, the Doors blew open and Riders From The Storm rode in while Cream played and Peter Green told us about being A Man Of The World until Jimi met Bob amongst Crosstown Traffic while Paul still stayed true to being Mother Nature’s Son.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM0Vs3MEOZc

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX5tOX6vA-0

Mother Natures's Son

After that, there was a beautiful lull where the troubadours kissed the sky and gave us shelter from the storm- James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens…

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP6T5wqXN60

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-DsYmxznWA

Today, there are some truly clever mashups through which many who should but don’t or cannot are understanding that to move forward, there is a need to know what came before before one simply has the same old song on repeat. On repeat. On repeat.

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As for many of those faceless souls working on these mashups and having to be creative yet careful about not tripping over all the red tape of copyright laws, mechanical rights issues and still creating because it’s what makes them do what they do, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

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Instead of trying to sue their asses, music companies should be BEGGING these versions of Producers and A&R and back-catalog men to take and make their catalogs relevant again while providing them with all the tools to make this happen.

Musicians who haven’t had that home schooling on the evolution and development of music should be thanking them for knowing their shit so damn well they can bridge musical generations through their work.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hho9gQccPCI

The days of wild creative abandon and experimentation of the Beatles, Santana, Hendrix, Doors, Led Zeppelin will never ever come around again, but, thankfully, through these mashups, and through those who either were there or wish they were there, all is not lost and that inquisitiveness and passion to discover and re-discover some of the greatest music created continued.

Long may it run and run and run.

MUSIC APPRECIATION  28

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiLKT5rPHBA

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