BJ's Musical Madness

My taste in music ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again.  I grew up in the 1950s with Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dina Shore, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and more.  My teen years were filled with Elvis (I tried not to like him, but he cast that spell...), Fabian (I was a member of his fan club!), Bobby Rydell (I saw him at a show at Wanamaker's in Philadelphia - got Hy Lit's autograph that day), and more.  I will always think that Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin" is the greatest rock'n roll record ever made.

I was in the 6th grade when I discovered Nelson Eddy.  I was home sick one Thursday morning and turned on Movietime USA, where they were showing Maytime.  And at a later date I saw Rose Marie.  "Indian Love Call" became my signature song.

When the Beatles came upon the scene during my senior year of high school, I decided that I preferred the Dave Clark Five.  Ah, the poems I wrote for them...

Ode to Dave Clark

Dave Clark is so handsome, 
Just like a Greek god,
The pride of old England,
True son of the sod.

I didn't say they were good poems!

How humiliating it was when I entered a Dave Clark Five Weekend in London contest, sponsored by Revlon's Natural Wonder makeup.  The radio station actually called me!  But they asked what Natural Wonder makeup I liked best.  Oh no!  I didn't wear makeup and had no idea what to answer.  Needless to say, I didn't win the contest, but they did send me the album.

In my freshman year at Douglass College, I learned to love the Rolling Stones and was introduced to the Chicago blues.  Which brings up another humiliating experience.  I was at a club in Greenwhich Village to see the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Muddy Waters.  Butterfield was, of course, great.  Just before Muddy Waters came on, someone sat down next to me.  During the performance he kept talking about how wonderful it was.  I agreed, but was rather curt to him and refused to make any eye-contact, since I really wanted to pay attention to the performance.  When the stranger wandered off, my date informed me that I had been snubbing Michael Bloomfield.  Ouch!

Ah, yes, New York.  It was on my first trip there that I had my first drink - a Singapore Sling at Tony's Italian Restaurant - and found myself singing "Indian Love Call" while walking up Bleeker Street.

During the spring of 1966, we celebrated Rutgers' Bicentennial.  One of the events was an Al Hirt concert on the lawn at the Douglass campus.  My friend Linda Fay and I arrived early and found ourselves singing - you guessed it - "Indian Love Call" for the crowd.  Thank goodness it was early and it wasn't a large crowd yet.

During my sophomore year I discovered Leonard Cohen

Then there was the Summer of '68 (my son is dying to know what I did that summer!)  Oh those free concerts in Central Park.  That's where I saw Arlo Guthrie and Country Joe and the Fish.  There was even a Jethro Tull concert on the lawn at Rutgers either that summer or during my senior year.

And the Fillmore East - what a wonderful concert hall!   It was there that I saw the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin.   (Did I ever study???)  It was during a Thanksgiving weekend visit to the Fillmore that I saw a typically great Airplane concert.  It happened that Jimi Hendrix was playing not too far away that night, and some of his band (not Jimi himself) came up to join some of the Airplane after the show was over.  They jammed until something like two or three in the morning.  I missed my bus back to New Brunswick.  But that is another story.

Back in the 1970s, when I was living in Virginia, I visited Opryland USA on my way to a wedding in Memphis and stood in line for what seemed like hours to get a ticket for the Grand Old Opry after the wedding. To my surprise, I found that I actually liked country music!

During my Virginia days I discovered Stewart Harris, reconnected with Conway Twitty (even saw him perform twice), got to see the Beach Boys with all of the Wilson brothers (the only concert where I screamed along with all the other girls), and even saw the Airplane again.

During the 1980s I learned to like some of the groups that my son listened to. I am still a fan of Metallica and even went on a successful quest for a copy of the One video. On the other hand, I dragged him around to see Richie Havens, Jefferson Starship, Procol Harum, and the Rolling Stones.

This year I attended my 6th Philadelphia Folk Festival. This is a dangerous place - I discover someone new every year. Back in 2003 I became an instant Tempest fan and go to see them every April at the Sellersville Theater and whenever they play at the Festival. If I didn't have to work, I'd be at more concerts... but I may be able to retire soon and become a real groupie.

More to come....

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Updated March 11, 2008