My musical tastes were a bit left of the middle when I started fourth grade in Brooklyn. I started listening to country music at age 12 to help me deal with the stress of living in an apartment with a walking beach ball named Nelson. I had a beat up clock radio next to my bed, and I would go to sleep listening to WHN, a now defunct country music station in New York. When I turned 14, I purchased the Thriller album by Michael Jackson. Mom bought me my first cassette player/recorder soon after. It was a cheap, no name brand, but it did the job. When I graduated to sixth grade, Nelson bought a record player for me, a Clarinette 45 from Radio Shack. I think he only bought it so I wouldn’t mess with his stereo system, his 8 track player, and his records. It was very basic: a turntable, dust cover, and two speakers. The turntable sat on a T shaped pedestal with room for the speakers below. The sound quality was not that great, but the music played with decent clarity. It had a volume, tone, and balance controls, along with a headphone jack. I wish it had a five band equalizer. But it was enough for a young music lover like me. The first record I bought was “Rappers Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. It sampled “Good Times” by Chic. Sometimes I would use Nelson’s headphones to listen in private because the left side speaker started to fail.
It didn’t take long for me to find mom’s stash of 45rpm records. I was listening to The Archies, James Brown, and one record that did not have a song title, but I know the song, and I listened to it a lot because it featured lots of horns. It had a yellow label with the word “Version” in black lettering, but not the name of the song. Regardless, I loved the song to pieces. Later on, I purchased a rap version of “Another One Bites the Dust” by Sugar Daddy. It sampled the song of the same name by Queen. The last 33rpm record I purchased was “Planet Rock.” I’m surprised I did not wear out the needle of the record player because I played that song a lot. I found the Blondie album “Parallel Lines” whilst going through Nelson’s records on the shelf and took to it right away. It was the last gasp of disco for 1981. That album helped me get through eighth grade.
These days, I have a very deep connection to music. If the circumstances are just right, I can feel the energy from music. It is like sticking one’s finger into a 220v outlet. When I am sad or depressed, I am in a low energy state, and sometimes music can give me a quick boost of energy. Sometimes I can be moved to tears. But it depends on the song. Most people listen to the lyrics, but it is the melody and the musical arrangement that gives me a charge. Songs by Enya do that to me frequently. The burst of energy can cause me to shed tears.
One talent that I seem to have developed is matching songs to people. I know not of how I do it. The matches happen randomly. The song seems to tell a story about the person. My most recent match is to my friend Sharon. The song “Tell Him” by The Exciters matches to her. Another friend by the name of Jen, matches with the song “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by The Eagles. My sister from another mister Renea matches with the song “Goodbye to You” by Patty Smyth. I want to match songs to more people, but I must be patient. It happens when I least expect it. In the meantime, music is a huge part of my life. To take it away means removing the core of my being.
Thanks for reading my blog. Sat Nam.