Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thinking About Father's Day

My Father -- more than any other person -- gave me the love of music by example.  His musical tastes were surprisingly eclectic; even more so than mineHe believed there were only two kinds of music, good and bad.  You either like it, or you don't.  My Dad was young when rock and roll began, so naturally we listened to Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, Little Richard and all of the pioneers of rock and roll.

As a matter of fact, when Dad wanted to keep 2-or-3-year old Debbie from getting underfoot around the house while he did paper work, or cut grass, he encouraged me to sit in my rocking chair and listen to an Everly Brothers' album on my box record player.  He said, “EB records worked every time.”  He'd pass through the room and see me rocking and mouthing along with Don and Phil:  “ Johnny wants to fly away to puppy love my baby ... He's a bird dog, ” and so, freeing Dad to accomplish his tasks.

In addition to rock and roll music, we listened to show tunes and pop voices like Doris Day, Teresa Brewer, Julie Andrews and Eddie Arnold.  Also, the Chad Mitchell Trio, Marty Robbins, Peter, Paul & Mary and Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.  I remember being introduced to Simon and Garfunkel, The Band and Janis Joplin when Dad brought their records home and gave them a spin.

We also watched every pop, rock, blues, country, talk-variety-awards show that hit the airwaves:  Merv Griffin, The Midnight Special, The Johnny Cash Show, The CMA Awards, The Grammy's, The Dolly Parton Show, The Porter Wagoner Show, The Wilburn Brothers Show and others.  Dad made popcorn and cocoa for these TV-music nights.

Chet Atkins
When my Dad was a boy, he listened to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio.  Early country music has many of the best and most expressive voices in the history of the music industry.  The songs and arrangements of early country [and bluegrass] are rich and timeless.  Not only is this old-time music preserved in The Library of Congress, it has influenced much of the music we listen to today across genres.  If you are in Nashville, TN, it is well-worth spending a day at The Country Music Hall Of Fame.  I could spend years there.

Sunday is Father's Day, so I'm remembering my Daddy by giving his perennial music a nod. 

Marty Stuart
Carlene Carter has such a sparkle and authenticity.  I love her!  She is the daughter of country singers June Carter and Al Smith and stepdaughter of country legend Johnny Cash.  The grandma she wrote about here, is Mother Maybelle Carter of the iconic Carter Family, who contributed so much to American music.  Carlene is a fine singer and songwriter in her own right.  She was once married to English rocker Nick Lowe and has put out some excellent country rock albums in her career.  The video is good-enough to watch, but I wish it were sharper.  The friends backing Carlene in this performance are some of the finest musicians, still active in the music industry, including Randy Scruggs, Vince Santoro, Alan O'Bryant,*Roy Huskey, Jr, Marty Stuart and Emmylou Harris.

Listening to Carlene's song reminds me of what once was and how the world goes on.  Over the telephone recently, my Mom asked me if I remember how pretty my Dad's [and her Mother's] blue eyes were.

Yes, I do … along with other sweet memories.  Happy Father's Day, fathers!  

Click the links below to learn how the day became a holiday and for ideas on how to spend it with the family.  Enjoy! 
*Roy Huskey, Jr. is deceased.

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  1. I've been immersed in work so I got back into the blog about two weeks late.

    This is a terrific post, even for a very stoic male dude type like me, it made my eyes tear up. On the C&W front, Don Williams had a song, maybe in 1980- "What Ever Happened To Good Old Boys Like Me" and there are some very touching "father" references.

    As far as keeping 2 years olds calm, my personal favorite (tried and true on my daughter) was "Santa Catalina" and "Down by the Station" by The Four Preps. It's not C&W, but it's very mellow music from same vintage as Everly Brothers. I have a Reba CD where she does "Cathy's Clown" which also calmed my daughter.

    Great, great posting.

  2. I like the sentiment. Good music.

  3. Thanks for sharing your Father's Day memories. Called to mind some memories of my own father. Beautiful and touching article!