Saturday, May 13, 2006

Music Memories: Folk, Rock, Jazz That Touch My Soul

Isn't it incredible how music touches our souls? I can't carry a note - but I love to sing at full volume when I'm driving. My husband doesn't mind. Another reason to love him.

So here's some from my free-flowing memory book about music. There's lots of great videos here - so take time to let them load!
I remember when I was pre-teen - one of my great joys was driving home from our country house and listening to the radio. At 8:05 PM on Sunday nights - one of the stations played the complete album of a popular Broadway Show. Now, no one in my family could sing at all - I'm not sure who was the worst - but we were all really really bad. That stopped none of us. We knew all the lyrics. One of my Dad's and my favorites was "Those Were The Good Ole' Days" from Damn Yankees. How we loved the "hahahahahahah" part - we'd scream with laughter.

I remember my freshmen year in college - I was feeling blue and I would play Donovan's "Catch The Wind" over and over and over again. I was a theater major - so I knew how to be dramatic. I'd sit in the window seat in my dorm room and feel sorry for myself and sing. I think I rather liked that feeling of being miserable, just a bit. And, of course, I wore black. Here's Donovan.

I remember the first time I saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and fell in love with George Harrison. And stayed in love with George and am still in love with George. I think sometimes that he and Clay Aiken have so many similarities. A gentleness and spirituality - and a snarky sense of humor. I bet Clay enjoys Monty Python . . . Oh, and they share incredible cheekbones. George Harrison singing "Something" - watch him forget the words towards the beginning - looks like the Harrison Random Lyric Generator was at work:

I remember when Ella Fitzgerald did one of her last concerts on Broadway. What an incredible woman. Probably the best voice and vocal interpreter I've ever heard. How I adore her. Here's Ella and Count Basie. It's fabulous to watch them riff with eachother - Basie on piano and Ella with her voice - almost as if Ella's saying "OK you play your instrument - I'll play mine". My Goodness - does it get any better?

I saw Yves Montand at his farewell concert at Lincoln Center. I knew he started as a song and dance man -- but I had no idea how fabulous he was. I loved him as an actor - but he was a showman. Oh, now that was a concert to remember.

Charles Aznavour used to do a midnight concert around Christmas time - it was my present to my sister so many years. I saw his farewell concert on Broadway too. Went this time with my husband, my dear girlfriend and her husband and their 3 children and their husband, wife and partner. All sitting in awe of that musical talent – that performer. So many people have mentioned wanting to hear Clay sing "She". They know it as the Elvis Costello version. But it's Aznavour's song. I wanted to find a video of it--but couldn't. Here's La Boheme - don't know the year, but boy he's young.

I remember protesting the Vietnam War and singing protest songs. I saw Tom Paxton and Eric Andersen and Tom Rush and Judy Collins in little clubs in the Village. And I remember Bob Dylan in Newport when he first went electric. And Arlo and Pete too. I know I'm forgetting some. This Pete Seeger video is still sadly relevant today. Listen to the words and feel his passion.

I saw Mel Torme from the 3rd row at Purchase College - also right before he passed away. He looked like a little toad on his stool . . .an old man with old old hands. And then he sang. You closed your eyes and you'd swear he was young. It was amazing to hear.

I saw the wonderful Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden just recently. My husband and I were invited to a special enclosed box by one of the hotel's we work with. There was drink and food. But the box was behind the stage. You couldn’t see him except for the back of the jumbotons. Everyone in the box left to get floor seats (you were allowed to). We almost did. But the music started. And we were alone in the box and we started dancing. We stayed there all night. We could hear perfectly. We could see him on the screen. We sang and danced and acted like fools. The waiter came in to refresh the bar - took one look and closed the door behind him. What a night! Here's a clip of Eric with Phil Collins singing one of my favorite songs.

I'll end this with Clay Aiken and all the excitement he brings to the stage. And the joy I feel when I watch him. When I listen to a cd I made of the Houston NaT - there's a moment in the first song where someone laughs. It's my favorite moment. It captures the sheer unselfconscious infectious bliss that man brings out in all of us who love him. Thank you spotlightlover for the video.

Here's my Quote for this Blog: After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. Aldous Huxley

Please visit all The Conclayve posts and don't forget to comment. We love feedback. Thanks for visiting.
Here are some great blogs for more music memories: Wednesday's Child

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Pink Armchair said...

Oh, this was wonderful! I'd never seen any of these videos, and what a trip down memory lane. I too got to hear Mel Torme near the end of his life, and what an incredible phenomenon. This also made me want to check out more Charles Aznavour. Wow. Thanks for these wonderful videos. And Clay, of course, fits right in with them.

Shadylil said...

Great blog! It brought back memories of my youth, my teenage years, my musical journey through the 70's and 80's, ending up with my favorite singer, Mr. Aiken.

EmeraldEyes said...

Thanks for the musical retrospective. It would wonderful. How skinny all the males were and nobody thought anything of it. I just listened to the Seeger Sessions from Springsteen. It was weird to hear Bruce singing with a twang. As you said, the music is very relevant in today's world.

beauzzartz said...

I love this! Have you been going through my record collection? Seeger, Harrison, Clapton and the genius of Ella Fitzgerald. Ella could wail on that instrument of hers like no other.

I think I wore Donovan's Wear Your Love LIke Heaven out back in the..... a long time ago. He was a talented artist as well as a gifted folk singer/songwriter. I need to dig out that album again!

Color in sky Prussian blue
Scarlet fleece changes hue
Crimson ball sinks from view

Wear your Love like Heaven......

Shadylil said...

Your article inspired me to take a trip down memory lane. You know what they say....great minds.

The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

Hey Beauzz - we've got a 2 disk Donovan's greatest hits - everything you can ever want. When I was in college I used to volunteer to be an usher at a concert hall in order to see free concerts. Saw Donovan there - I was so fangirly (except I didn't know the word then - and of course I was much more of a girl then too) *g*. I have a 2 disk Pete Seeger cd - different people doing Pete's songs. Donovan does Rainbow World. Bruce Springsteen does We Shall Overcome. Great CD if you can find it.

Anonymous said...

What a great blog this is. That Donovan video is amazing. Haven't seen or heard him in years and it was great to see. I've never seen Charles Aznavour and thought he was really interesting. I'm going to need to check out his stuff. Thought I'd read some of the other blogs here as well. They are very funny. Great site.

gingergirl said...

What incredible memories! Loved all the clips. When I was a teenager and my mom and I would argue, I would threaten to run away to Greenwich Village. It was a magical place in my mind. I wanted to sit in smoke filled rooms and recite angst laden poetry. I also had a major crush on Donovan..heh..

Pamela said...

What a fantastic retrospective of a life's soundtrack! I love live music. It's the best! My all time favorite concerts were those of Doc Watson at the Paul Green Theater in Chapel Hill, Elton John (Yellow Brick Road Tour) at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, Clay Aiken at Carowinds, and with Kelly Clarkson in Charlotte, and Neil Young at Walnut Creek in Raleigh. Awesome mind bending experiences everyone.
The videos you posted are incredible and may I just say: I love YouTube. Thanks!

Divayenta said...

Shady, love your memories because they so parallel mine. I heard and saw all the great ones in the SF Bay Area as a teen and up and now comes Clay.

Divayenta said...

Oh, I go to sleep every night to Donovan's "Gift From a Flower to a Garden". I even recently performed "Lullaby of Spring" as part of my set last weekend at a show.

Saw him in '68 and again at the Birchmere in 2004. Great as ever. I idolized Pete Seeger. Remember "Sing Out" magazine and "Hootenanny"?

The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

OMG Diva - Sing Out still exists. Website is It has a pretty good search engine for finding performers concerts.

Linda said...

I remember seeing the Beatles for the first time on Ed Sullivan too! It was our old black & white tv. I loved the Beatles and was so hopeful that my parents would approve of them. I remember their haircuts were very unique at the time because that was when the guys were all imitating Elvis or Pat Boone, at least where I lived in the midwest. In Kansas, we were way behind the Coasts on stylin.

ladyjocelyn said...

I LOVE the eclectic music taste you have! I find it truly fascinating that Clay Aiken fans appreciate all kinds of music. While I tend to go more the traditional pop/rock route (and was a teeny bopper in high school, with the cheesy tastes that go with that), I knew of every one of your choices, and love them. I think my favorite story here is the Clapton one -- how romantic for both you and your husband.

Valeda said...

Thanks for the wonderful memories. Being French Canadian, my teenage years were influenced by both American/English and French music. Aznavour's whole song book is familiar to me and I saw him quite a few times in concert. Jacques Brel was my favorite though. I always managed to get front row center seats whenever he came to Montreal. Wish it was that easy to get good seats for Clay Aiken's concerts. I also loved Edith Piaf's voice and owned many of her records.

The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

Valeda - love Jaques Brel as well. And of course you do know Aznavour and Piaf knew each other very well, don't you*g*?

Pamela - I'm really looking forward to Neil Young's new album. Quite controversial. Good for him.

Linda I remember watching with my folks as well - and they had no idea what to make of the Beatles. Now when I see those haircuts - they look so SHORT!

~ YSRN ~ said...

Wow, Nan. What awesome memories and GREAT YouTube finds! Look at Basie looking at Ella there... he looks so in awe of her vocalizing. Very cool. Doesn't Eric look like an older Clay? George Harrison RLG was hysterical -- but he has no ass.

I caught a few of my first concerts in SF at Winterland. My sister would take me much to mom's chagrin. We'd sleep out on the streets so we could get floor "seats". I almost always sat on one boyfriend or another's shoulders. Can you imagine? Hey, most of the time I even kept my shirt on. Heh.

Thanks for the cool blog. I think I might have to steal your idea and conjur up some of my own old memories.

pandarose said...

Thank you for sharing your music memories, and the videos! That was great.