Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Music and How You Found It

 

I’m fairly new here and not sure what the rules are about content. I get that center-right, as this site is advertised, implies politics, but my mind ran contrary to the fate of the Republic. I’m thinking right now about music and how I came upon the stuff I like.

For too long all I heard on the radio was gaga, or googoo. My formative musical years were dull, like most people in high school during the eighties or any other time when a palate was presented to you by someone else. DJs had an iron grip on what we heard. There were good songs, but formulaically so. I had my predictable rebellion where I listened to Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead and considered myself cultured in the small sphere in which I inhabited. But I was buffered.

Then I went to camp.

My 12-year-old self, along with a cadre of compatriots, were roused daily by a pre-recorded reveille blasted through a WWI surplus speaker system. The entirety of Monteagle, TN, could hear it and no doubt they hated us for it. But we were kids. Nothing woke us up. So our friendly councilors, armed with a boom box, made sure we got up.

They would play at maximum volume songs I had never heard before. The Violent Femmes’ “Blister In The Sun,” UB40’s version of Neil Diamond’s “Red Red Wine.” These were get-the-hell-out-of-that-bunk songs played at crummy side table shaking volume. You do not sleep through a Gordon Gano rant.

What struck me was that I had never heard either song before. I thought I was pretty savvy for a pubescent know-nothing, but here was a world of cool sounds that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know about.

I think one of the counselors was named Kevin. Probably Kevin. Anyway, I asked likely Kevin how he found these bands. They weren’t on the radio. Billboard said nothing about them. How did you get hold of this? He told me that when I got back home I needed to find an independent record store and simply ask the clerk what I needed to listen to.

In the mid-eighties, Odyssey Records on 6th Ave. South in Birmingham, AL had the honor of employing a guy who got suspended from Shades Valley High School in December of ’67. At the time, Shades Valley was a catch-all for students around the metroplex. If you were in an unincorporated area, you went to Shades Valley. It got a reputation because if you got kicked out of anywhere in the area, you went to Shades Valley. It didn’t make a lot of CVs. That said, the place has made a U-turn. They have a program within the school that is somehow a separate school that shares the same campus and WaPo ranked them 9th among America’s most challenging high schools.

That guy got suspended because he put the flag at half-mast when he heard that Otis Redding died. You can imagine that when I came in and asked what I should be listening to, per my camp counselors instructions, I left with an Otis Redding’s Greatest Hits album. My listening life has never been the same.

I’m not claiming any esoteric library. Most of what I listen to is pretty accessible by today’s standards, but stuff you would have only known about in the ’80s because some weird kid had a t-shirt.

Otis isn’t the punk or alternative that I listen to more often than not, but I’m now a sucker for Motown and Atlantic Rhythm and Blues. Always will be. That suspendee turned me on to so many other bands — Pixies, R.E.M, Sex Pistols, The Pogues, Linda Ronstadt and Warren Zevon by extension, and so many more. My kids can sing along to most Supremes songs. I got approving looks in the hardware store checkout line when my son sang along to the piped-in “Ziggy Stardust.” On a whitewater trip, my seven-year-old made friends with the river guide because of The Joshua Tree.

I’m all over the place musically, but I can track my tastes back to a 17-or-so-year-old camp counselor and a really nice guy with a mar on his permanent record.

Life is odd.

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  1. Juliana Member

    We rarely went anywhere without our transistor radios in the 60’s, listening to WLS and WCFL out of Chicago. My dad liked country, and he always played his station on the radio when he was working around the house. My mom liked show tunes and we had a stereo for her albums. Mitch Miller was on TV with a sing-along program my parents liked (the old ‘standards’ they were called), and they didn’t miss Lawrence Welk (my favorite was the ragtime piano player JoAnn Castle). My sister and I watched some American Bandstand, but mostly Shindig, Hullabaloo, Where the Action Is, and the Monkees on TV. I think my exposure to music growing up was much more eclectic than my kids – who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s listening to classical, alternative rock and rock and roll oldies. I find most of today’s music difficult to listen to – it’s either boring or vulgar. It doesn’t have a good beat and it’s hard to dance to.

    • #1
    • February 21, 2020, at 12:54 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    Ben Sears: I get that center right, as this site is advertised, implies politics,

    If that were the case, we wouldn’t have so many items listed on the topic choices when you start a conversation, such as “Literature” and “Entertainment.” That drop-down list has a lot more than just “General.”

    • #2
    • February 21, 2020, at 12:56 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Samuel Block Member

    This post is perfectly appropriate! Oddly enough, a good portion of the most interesting music I’ve found recently was brought to me right here on Ricochet.

    If you haven’t already, check out the “What Are You Listening To?” Group. It’s where I found gems like this: 

    • #3
    • February 21, 2020, at 1:00 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    We had a lot more on the radio when and where I was growing up. There was country and western, classical, folk, pop, rock. You could hear just about anything where I was. (Except what didn’t exist yet, since it was a long time ago.)

    • #4
    • February 21, 2020, at 1:06 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    It’s where I found gems like this: 

    Well, if we’re going foreign language, we can have even more fun:

    • #5
    • February 21, 2020, at 1:12 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  6. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge

    I bet you and I would find a lot to like in each others’ music libraries. I have never really been in sync with popular music; there was a brief period during the 1980s when I actually was listening to Top 40 stuff (and watching it on MTV), but apart from that my music tastes have always been a bit peculiar.

    It might seem counterintuitive, but for me the deflection point was the release of Star Wars. Before that I had been listening casually to whatever was on the radio, but not really paying attention to much of it. But after May 1977, I was completely obsessed with Star Wars, and among other things that meant that I bought my first-ever LP: the movie soundtrack, John Williams’s masterpiece, and the best way to relive the movie at home in those days long before home video.

    For months, I listened to pretty much nothing else, and it taught me a lot about the emotive and narrative power of music. Beyond that, it led me to an interest in film soundtracks, and I began to build a small record collection consisting entirely of soundtracks by John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri, and others from the era. (When I arrived at college in 1983, my somewhat idiotic roommate heard me playing some of my music and asked, “Do you ever listen to anything except opera?”)

    At college a friend tutored me in some of the classics I’d missed, most notably The Who and the Beatles. Then I started working at the college radio station, which exposed me to a lot of alternative music; for a few years I fancied myself an avant-garde type, but in fact my musical tastes largely remained with melodic, old-school styles, even if the artists were ones that most people had never heard of (like Don Dixon or Scruffy the Cat).

    Thanks to the Internet, I remained able to hunt down such music long after college, and long after popular music had left me behind. During the 1990s I couldn’t have picked most popular musicians out of a lineup, but I spent hundreds of dollars on CDs by bands like Cotton Mather, Jellyfish, Owsley, Brad Jones, the Spongetones, and Jason Falkner (to name a few) while also filling in more gaps in my knowledge of the classics. The result is a weird collection that contains very little that was popular during my lifetime.

    So although the connection might not seem obvious, I trace my odd musical tastes to my love of Star Wars and John Williams, mostly because that was what led me to detach myself from the musical mainstream. Even since then I’ve been hunting down whatever I like, wherever I find it. I don’t have much sympathy for people who say there’s no good music anymore; you just have to know how to find it.

    • #6
    • February 21, 2020, at 1:13 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  7. Kephalithos Member

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment): I don’t have much sympathy for people who say there’s no good music anymore; you just have to know how to find it.

    Indeed.

    Music, I’d argue, is the one art form which hasn’t been corrupted by modernity — probably because it’s abstract, rather than representational.

    • #7
    • February 21, 2020, at 2:19 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  8. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    The critical point for me was February 1965 when I turned 14. In bed for ten days or so because illness my parents got me an AM radio to keep by my bed. I began listening to WABC in New York constantly and was hooked. That radio and then its successor, which had an FM band, stayed by my bed till I went off to college and it was the primary way I discovered music not just rock and blues, but also bluegrass and old style country.

    Since then, while there are a few of my old favorites I find it hard to listen to (like The Doors and a lot of Jefferson Airplane), it’s more been a matter of expanding my tastes. Back then I couldn’t stand listening to the music my parents liked but today I love hearing Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra, and others. And it’s still fun to find contemporary music I like, though harder to do so.

     

    • #8
    • February 21, 2020, at 2:37 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  9. Samuel Block Member

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    And it’s still fun to find contemporary music I like, though harder to do so.

    Heard any of these groups? If not, they should keep you entertained for a little while. 

     

    • #9
    • February 21, 2020, at 2:49 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. Bruce Caward Thatcher
    Bruce Caward Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    In 1985, I bought my first “book-on-cassette” – a multicast recording of LoTR, in a wooden box. I became so intrigued by talking books that I missed all of the music that came after. But boy did I read a lot.

    About 15 years ago I took a look at that era, and became stupidly enamored of the Flaming Lips. Still am. However, I don’t understand anything after At War With the Magicians. Sorry Wayne, good luck to you.

    • #10
    • February 21, 2020, at 4:20 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Full Size Tabby Member

    Ricochetti can argue about discuss music at least as thoroughly as we can politics! And food and art and movies and family and pets and cars and theology and (my favorite from about 5 years ago) concrete. And the way things go, many of us would rather discuss anything but politics. So weigh in on whatever topic strikes your fancy. 

    • #11
    • February 21, 2020, at 4:40 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  12. Boss Mongo Member

    Ben Sears: I’m fairly new here and not sure what the rules are about content. I get that center-right, as this site is advertised, implies politics, but my mind ran contrary to the fate of the Republic.

    Brother, whatever content you think worthy, we’ll read and appreciate (mostly).

    • #12
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:36 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  13. ShaunaHunt Coolidge

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Ricochetti can argue about discuss music at least as thoroughly as we can politics! And food and art and movies and family and pets and cars and theology and (my favorite from about 5 years ago) concrete. And the way things go, many of us would rather discuss anything but politics. So weigh in on whatever topic strikes your fancy.

    Yes, please!

    • #13
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:36 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  14. Django Member

    Back in the early days there were two magazines that had interesting music reviews: High Fidelity and Audio. There I learned about then-young jazz players such as Richie Cole and Scott Hamilton, Texas singers such as Delbert McClinton, and Steely Dan. And of course, what is broadly characterized as Classical music. All before the internet. Growing up in a small town where the local radio station WEKY had to serve everyone I could hear in one week music as varied as Smokey Robinson, George Jones, Ramsey Lewis, The Rolling Stones, and some symphony orchestra I can’t recall. I think it was the RCA orchestra. Glad I got exposed to that variety.

    • #14
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:48 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  15. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Since anything in the past 20 years is new to me:

    • #15
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:00 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Katie Koppelman Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Ben Sears: I get that center right, as this site is advertised, implies politics,

    If that were the case, we wouldn’t have so many items listed on the topic choices when you start a conversation, such as “Literature” and “Entertainment.” That drop-down list has a lot more than just “General.”

    Center-right politics is just a starting place for friendships on Ricochet. Most of us have many interests other than politics, and so there is an abundance of diverse groups in our online community. If you like to meet new friends, check out the Ricochet Meetup group. We have a big Meetup planned for Labor Day weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Love it if you could join us.

    • #16
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:03 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. Ben Sears Member
    Ben Sears

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    At college a friend tutored me in some of the classics I’d missed, most notably The Who and the Beatles. 

     

     

    You mention a college friend that tutored you in The Who. My father in law filled that role for me. I was familiar with Tommy, but otherwise ignorant. Of all the classics that I missed as a kid and now love I have to scream Zappa. He’s better than amazing. Zappa, Zappa, Zappa. And I say that despite my Havel worship coloring or otherwise informing my fandom he is a staggering talent. 

    • #17
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:11 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Ben Sears Member
    Ben Sears

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    The critical point for me was February 1965 when I turned 14. In bed for ten days or so because illness my parents got me an AM radio to keep by my bed. I began listening to WABC in New York constantly and was hooked. That radio and then its successor, which had an FM band, stayed by my bed till I went off to college and it was the primary way I discovered music not just rock and blues, but also bluegrass and old style country.

    Since then, while there are a few of my old favorites I find it hard to listen to (like The Doors and a lot of Jefferson Airplane), it’s more been a matter of expanding my tastes. Back then I couldn’t stand listening to the music my parents liked but today I love hearing Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra, and others. And it’s still fun to find contemporary music I like, though harder to do so.

     

    Isn’t that odd? 

    There was a period where finding me in a t-shirt that didn’t have Jim Morrison on it was an oddity and now I can’t listen to him. The Doors repel me. 

    • #18
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:15 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Ben Sears (View Comment):

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    At college a friend tutored me in some of the classics I’d missed, most notably The Who and the Beatles.

     

     

    You mention a college friend that tutored you in The Who. My father in law filled that role for me. I was familiar with Tommy, but otherwise ignorant. Of all the classics that I missed as a kid and now love I have to scream Zappa. He’s better than amazing. Zappa, Zappa, Zappa. And I say that despite my Havel worship coloring or otherwise informing my fandom he is a staggering talent.

    “It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice — there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.”


    • #19
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:15 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  20. Ben Sears Member
    Ben Sears

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Ricochetti can argue about discuss music at least as thoroughly as we can politics! And food and art and movies and family and pets and cars and theology and (my favorite from about 5 years ago) concrete. And the way things go, many of us would rather discuss anything but politics. So weigh in on whatever topic strikes your fancy.

    You’ve opened a food and wine door that may never be closed. I thank you for it.

    • #20
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:17 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. Django Member

    You should check out the last couple years of the music PIT. 

    • #21
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:17 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Samuel Block Member

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Ben Sears (View Comment):

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    At college a friend tutored me in some of the classics I’d missed, most notably The Who and the Beatles.

     

     

    You mention a college friend that tutored you in The Who. My father in law filled that role for me. I was familiar with Tommy, but otherwise ignorant. Of all the classics that I missed as a kid and now love I have to scream Zappa. He’s better than amazing. Zappa, Zappa, Zappa. And I say that despite my Havel worship coloring or otherwise informing my fandom he is a staggering talent.

    “It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice — there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.”


    I love this interview so much. I pretty much take every opportunity I can to post it.

    • #22
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:21 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. Marythefifth Member
    Marythefifth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I wish I had saved an article I read a while ago, year or two, explaining what the author and I found wanting in pop music for the last 45 years. I say 45, he may have said fewer years. Missing is pleasing, complex melody, harmony, and rhythm. Love those new Campbell soup commercials.

    • #23
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:22 PM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Ben Sears Member
    Ben Sears

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Ben Sears (View Comment):

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    At college a friend tutored me in some of the classics I’d missed, most notably The Who and the Beatles.

     

     

    You mention a college friend that tutored you in The Who. My father in law filled that role for me. I was familiar with Tommy, but otherwise ignorant. Of all the classics that I missed as a kid and now love I have to scream Zappa. He’s better than amazing. Zappa, Zappa, Zappa. And I say that despite my Havel worship coloring or otherwise informing my fandom he is a staggering talent.

    “It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice — there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.”


    He probably thinks that’s a flattering shot. I kinda do too.

    • #24
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:23 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  25. Marythefifth Member
    Marythefifth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    So what I enjoyed during the last 45 years I found at live music or dance festivals. Music never heard on the radio.

    • #25
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:26 PM PST
    • Like
  26. Django Member

    Marythefifth (View Comment):

    I wish I had saved an article I read a while ago, year or two, explaining what the author and I found wanting in pop music for the last 45 years. I say 45, he may have said fewer years. Missing is pleasing, complex melody, harmony, and rhythm. Love those new Campbell soup commercials.

    Rick Beato has a youtube video describing the four chords that ruined pop music. 

     

    • #26
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:28 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  27. Ben Sears Member
    Ben Sears

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    And it’s still fun to find contemporary music I like, though harder to do so.

    Heard any of these groups? If not, they should keep you entertained for a little while.

    You had me at Leon Bridges, but the Gorillaz song left me with a stomach full of meh. They can’t all be Feel Good. 

     

     

    • #27
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:41 PM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Ben Sears Member
    Ben Sears

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Ben Sears (View Comment):

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    At college a friend tutored me in some of the classics I’d missed, most notably The Who and the Beatles.

     

     

    You mention a college friend that tutored you in The Who. My father in law filled that role for me. I was familiar with Tommy, but otherwise ignorant. Of all the classics that I missed as a kid and now love I have to scream Zappa. He’s better than amazing. Zappa, Zappa, Zappa. And I say that despite my Havel worship coloring or otherwise informing my fandom he is a staggering talent.

    “It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice — there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.”


    I love this interview so much. I pretty much take every opportunity I can to post it.

    That was fantastic.

    • #28
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:57 PM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Samuel Block Member

    Ben Sears (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    And it’s still fun to find contemporary music I like, though harder to do so.

    Heard any of these groups? If not, they should keep you entertained for a little while.

    You had me at Leon Bridges, but the Gorillaz song left me with a stomach full of meh. They can’t all be Feel Good.

     

     

    The group that Bridges played with, Khruangbin, is pretty big right now. They’re neat. 

    Feel Good was so great! I can’t fault anyone for thinking that’s their peak.

    • #29
    • February 21, 2020, at 8:04 PM PST
    • Like
  30. Ben Sears Member
    Ben Sears

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Ben Sears (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    And it’s still fun to find contemporary music I like, though harder to do so.

    Heard any of these groups? If not, they should keep you entertained for a little while.

    You had me at Leon Bridges, but the Gorillaz song left me with a stomach full of meh. They can’t all be Feel Good.

     

     

    The group that Bridges played with, Khruangbin, is pretty big right now. They’re neat.

    Feel Good was so great! I can’t fault anyone for thinking that’s their peak.

    It’s really not fair to judge a band against their own accomplishment. I mean, they did that. That they didn’t do it again only shows how well they did it in the first place. So I’m not being kind where I should be and I need to acknowledge that. But Feel Good was great. Just Great.

    • #30
    • February 21, 2020, at 8:11 PM PST
    • 3 likes