Thursday, September 14, 2017

My Music - Part 1 #OurAuthorGang

By Rick Haynes

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

So said William Shakespeare, and if you think about his words, the truism is still alive today.
Why would that be? 
Well, don’t we all have a favourite song, a song with meaning, perhaps evoking strong personal feelings? Or perhaps our favourite, is one that binds us to another, bringing either happy thoughts or sad memories?  
Music is everywhere. People all over the world listen to tunes on vinyl, cd, radio, television, and in digitised format, not forgetting live music from concerts, festivals and street artists. We are bombarded with the sound of music on a daily basis, and we feed off the fare on offer, sometimes unknowingly. 
Each one of us has our preferences, and our dislikes. And that’s another pointer as to why humans are similar, yet individually are so different to one another. 
Shakespeare introduced many words into the English language, for if one didn’t exist for his purpose, he invented it. And his sayings are used in our everyday lives. ‘Love is blind,’ and ‘Heart of Gold,’ come to mind. Songs with the same titles were sang by, Alicia Keys and Neil Young.
Here’s my story.
In the 60’s we had Rhythm & Blues and Tamla Motown, followed quickly by rock. The first band I followed, The Muleskinners had a great sound with a cracking guitarist - they had one hit with - Back Door Man. Supporting them was a band so poor that I had to stand outside the hall until they finished. 18 months later that band had a number one hit in the UK with, Go Now, and The Moody Blues story took off like a rocket.
My mate and I visited our local record shop once a week to check out the latest soul imports from America. It was great being the only ones to have them, as so few arrived in our local store, or anywhere else. I built up a collection, but one record would forever be my favourite. The parody of James Bond by Rex Garvin and the Mighty Cravers, entitled, ‘Sock it to em JB’, is even now played at my parties.
Next up was a trip to the famous Marquee Club in Wardour Street, London. I lied about my age to get in to see The Yardbirds. Standing transfixed in front of the stage as Eric Clapton played a solo, I looked a right plonker, but I didn’t care, even though I got chucked out soon afterwards. My love with the electric guitar would soon turn into the best habit of my life, but unfortunately my playing would be akin to a cat wailing in agony.
Later in the sixties I saw The Who. I didn’t have to guess where their energy came from, but the amazing sound from just 3 performers was mind blowing. Roger Daltrey sang, and Pete Townsend and John Entwistle played their guitars as if there were five guitarists on stage. Keith – Moon the Loon – was just that, but he’s the best drummer I’ve ever had the privilege to watch.
I saw Cream, live, not long before they split in 1968, and soon after the original line up of, Wishbone Ash - one of the most fan friendly bands ever.
Come the 70’s I danced in the clubs to the sound of the disco beat, yet collected music from an array of fantastic rock bands. Barclay James Harvest and ELO were firm favourites. I managed to see The Electric Light Orchestra at Wembley and I’ll never forget their spaceship emerging from beneath the stage covered in mist.
The music in the 80’s started the decline into mediocrity. Sugar pop was not for me, so I ignored the charts and looked elsewhere. Dire Straits, Asia, Wishbone Ash, The Eagles, I collected them all.
A night with Genesis was the best concert I’ve ever seen. Everyone thought the gig had ended but Genesis returned to play a second encore. 20 minutes of Tamla Motown brought the house down.
‘Run to You,’ by Bryan Adams has a special meaning, as does, ‘Django,’ by Joe Bonamassa. The former is personal, the latter mind-blowing. When Joe played the first notes of that instrumental, all the hairs on my arm stood up, and spellbound, I was. It’s the finest opening track I’ve ever witnessed. And if you haven’t heard it, then rectify that double quick. Buy the track, sit in a quiet room, turn the volume up, and close your eyes.
In the 90’s, I lost interest in the charts, yet continued to seek out new melodic rock bands from all over the globe. And by the most unusual of circumstances, I found a new sound, a sound that brought back memories of my youth, and dancing in the discos.
Sitting around a pool on the Greek island of Kefalonia, I heard a new track over the speaker system. It was soft, catchy and my interest was piqued. I listened as the same four notes repeated, then followed by a rising six - da da da da - da da da da - da da da da da da - which appeared to be from someone playing a piano, but it was different. I asked Aris, the barman, the name of the artist and the title of the track. As the beat intensified my love affair with the music of Robert Miles, and especially this track, Children, took off. Aris, even brought me in a copy before I left for home. Thanks matey.
My love affair with trance music had just begun, but you’ll have to wait for part 2 to read what happened next.