Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Long As I Got a Dime, the Music Won't Never Stop

I went to college in the 60's and 70's.  Okay, and most of the 80's, to boot.  So my personal period of intellectual immaturity lingered a bit longer than those of folks with more linear game plans.  One effect of my protracted university sojourn was sustained and enervating overexposure to Bob Dylan.  And Neil Young.  As well as - and I'm not proud of this - Donovan.

Now, if you're a Dylan/Young/Donovan fan, I can understand that.  I was there, man.  But I'm here now.  Enough.

Being retired, I can finally do with my time as I damn well please, and it pleases me to have music blasting for about 15 hours a day.  So that's what I do.  Provided I can master the technology, I mean.

Music delivery systems have been rolling over faster than Beethoven delivering the news to Tchaikovsky.  When first I came to sunny Geezerland, I kept a couple hundred vinyl records that I couldn't bear to part with.  As for my tattered collection of Dylan, Young and Donovan - especially Donovan - I happily let them go for two bits a record.  But the blight of obsolescence hunkers over my surviving platters, for needles wear out and turntables grunt and roll over.  Try to replace a Denon moving coil cartridge, which was the state of the art 30 years ago.  Ma foi!  No matter - the album art is still nice.  My Springsteen five-record set will likely remain in pristine condition long after The Boss is reading Tchaikovsky the headlines.

Oh, I'm no hoarder.  I pitched out my 8-tracks and audio cassettes decades ago.  Most of them.  Today I have more invested in CD's than in my retirement account.  I once figured laser-read music was for the ages.  Nah, not really, as it turns out.

So I signed up for Sirius in its first year and still own the only two coal-fired satellite radio receivers still in existence.  But for all its gazillion stations, Sirius is spiraling precipitously toward the lowest common denominator in each of its music genres.  Bor-ing.

I haven't bought a dedicated MP3 player yet.  I'm not exactly an early adopter.  Nevertheless, I have a couple thousand bootlegged (by someone else) tracks on my clumsy old Blackberry.  I'm sure I won't have enough time to fill a whole big iPod with iTunes before that medium also kicks the technological bucket.  (Um - I was being sarcastic when I drafted that last comment, but I read today that Apple is swearing to God that it is not discontinuing the iPod.  No siree, Bob.  Does anyone else hear the death-knell knelling?)

So now I've signed up for Pandora's premium on-line service. 


What an outstanding concept.  Pandora feeds me the music I ask for, and then kicks in some stuff I didn't know I needed.  I plug in John Prine, and Pandora opens its box and spews out not only Prine, but - whoa! - a trove of artists that Prine certainly loves: Steve Goodman and Guy Clark and David Bromberg (who can out-Neil-Young Neil Young) and the transcendent Dan Reeder.  Oh, and Dylan, Young and Donovan.  Oops.  Nothing's perfect.

I ask Pandora for Leonard Cohen and also get John Hiatt, Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt.  Yee-hah!  But ... Dylan/Young/Donovan creep uninvited into that mix, as well.  Okay, I say, try Phoebe Snow.  Out pops Emmylou Harris and Madeleine Peyroux.  Oh, and D/Y/D.  Crap.  Louis Armstrong begets a very cool mix of Eric Bibb, Keb' Mo', Dr. Michael White and Coleman Hawkins.  And D/Y/D.  Yikes!

All right - I get it.  Dylan and Young and maybe even Donovan did some seminal stuff.  But c'mon - Coleman Hawkins?  My guess is that plugging in J.S. Bach would generate D/Y/D on amplified harpsichord, but let us not tempt Fate.

Which brings me back to the 60's, where I started.  I'm living here in a trailer park full of even riper old farts than I.  Sometimes I push my walker around the block in the quiet of the evening.  The peaceful, abiding silence.  Ahhh.  Interrupted only by a dozen stereos cranked up to deaf-defying volumes by other doddering old coots kicking out Chuck Berry, the Beatles, the Stones .   And Dylan, Young and Donovan.




  1. I love blasting rock 'n' roll tunes. Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire" really kicks up the adrenalin.

    The local "fuzz" pulled up to me at a traffic light not too long ago and asked me, "M'am can ya turn the tunes down a bit?" "Sure officer", I said. As soon as the young whipper snapper was out of sight I cranked up James Brown's "Feels So Good."

    I think I need a good lawyer.

  2. Donovan "Wear your love like Heaven", Sirius and Pandora. It just doesn't get any better!!!

    Turn it up!!!