CD’s A to Z

I barely remember this movie, or buying this CD. Huh.

I barely remember this movie, or buying this CD. Huh.

When was the last time you played your Blue in the Face soundtrack album? Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? Or one of the obscure Tears for Fears CD’s, after the hits stopped?

Yeah, it’s been awhile for me, too. Which led to my current musical experiment.

During the Chicago years (my god, I already sound like it was eons ago), I kept some of my less-played CD’s in storage back here in CT, along with all my albums. I’ve already written about rediscovering the joys of vinyl, though truth be told, I haven’t played that many. Actually, over the last few years, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: I just don’t play music much anymore.

From 1975 - OMG I think I had this one...

From 1975 - OMG I think I had this one...

A painful admission, coming from someone who has defined so much of his life by the music he bought and played, the concerts he saw, the time he spent as a roadie. That lifelong importance of music was one of the conceits of the heralded solo show that, among other things, set off C?WC? I cherish those vivid memories of bopping to my older sister’s 45s in the living room, playing DJ at grade school and in the neighborhood with my little portable phono, scouring Creem and Rolling Stone and Circus for musical tidbits I could include in my first-ever published writing gig, as musical maven for the Glastonbury High School newspaper. (God, what was it called? Something Indian-themed, I assume, since we were the Tomahawks [“on the warpath, ooh, aah,” as the cheerleaders reminded us]. Any alums reading — help me out here, guys!)

EVerybody's favorite mid-70s band, Sparks!

EVerybody's favorite mid-70s band, Sparks!

Then there were the early concerts: Three Dog Night at Hartford’s Bushnell Auditorium – a birthday gift for my sister, with our parents by our side; outdoors at Dillon Stadium when I was 12, the first show sans parents, and the first time I think I ever smelled pot (just smelled, mind you…); the efforts to get the best seats possible the day tickets went on sale, which meant precisely timing my mailed check, since there was no Internet and no way my mother was going to let me camp out; Sparks at the Bushnell, with 246 others who actually knew who these crazy guys were; the abysmal failure of trying to produce a bluegrass show while a member of the GHS student council (and yet I still tried to stage the solo show. What the hell was I thinking…). The list could go on and on.

I noticed my personal music dearth in Chicago, especially on the live side. Oh, I saw plenty of great shows, but over five years – and given the amount of good music so close at hand – the average was pretty pathetic. I tried to at least keep up with new artists, buying CD’s strictly based on reviews, but then found myself drifting back to an ever-shrinking selection of the tried and true. Which shaped the little experiment now underway.

With the stored CD’s added back into the collection, I decided I would play them all, once, in order from A to Z. Now, I made some allowances for previous lapses in taste: If a CD really seemed to suck to me now, I’d play just one or two songs and consider that disc done. But what I really hoped was to find some hidden treasures, especially in the genres I tend to neglect: classical, jazz, blues.

I realize this endeavor is not exactly groundbreaking. Not up there with reading every page of the Encyclopedia Britannica or living for a year like an Old Testament Jew (amazingly, or insanely, both done by the same guy). But it’s not a parody of those efforts either. My goal is to reconnect with “lost” gems, and just reintegrate music into my life on a more regular basis. Of course, I know there are dangers; I imagine one day I’ll scream “Oh my god, why did I buy so much Foghat?! Why did I keep it?!” (Actually, the only album I had was on vinyl, and it was purged from the collection ages ago. But you get the idea.)

Home-of-the-Brave I am now amidst the B’s, having just completed Bach. I got to hear my favorite piece, the Brandenburg Concerto #3, and some organ music that sounded like it came from a horror-flick soundtrack. The A’s had some delights – I forgot how much I like Laurie Anderson’s Home of the Brave. But I did wonder, apropos of Foghat, why I have so much Asleep at the Wheel. No, that’s not fair – they’re lots of fun live, and their tributes to Bob Wills, especially the first, are killer. But three or four CD’s in a row is a little much. I should have invoked the one-or-two-song rule, but I let them play through. We’ll see if I’m as generous with some of the older Dylan and mediocre Elvis (I gotta lot of Dylan and Costello…).

This effort might lead me to get rid of some things I have outgrown or bought on some inexplicable whim. I hope it leads to more moments like the one with Home of the Brave, or uncovering something cool I had no clue I even owned. We’ll see. At the least, I’ll hear if there’s anything decent on Blue in the Face, which  should be coming up pretty soon. I’ll keep you posted.

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~ by mburgan on October 15, 2009.

4 Responses to “CD’s A to Z”

  1. oh wow..tomahawks on the war path ooh aah…much better than apple pickers…

    according to my yearbook the newspaper was “common sense”.

  2. Common Sense! I shoulda known that…

  3. What, you mean now they’re the GHS Apple Pickers?

  4. no..they are not but the rumor was they were being changed…it was all over FB way back…that Tomahawks was not PC.

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