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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Old Becomes The New

The first time I heard Otis Redding sing "Try A Little Tenderness", I thought I'd discovered a new raw gem. I recollect how disappointed I was when my parents told me Otis had wrecked a song they'd enjoyed many years before. What songs do you recall knocking you down that you later learned were not "new" when you first heard them? What impact did learning that they were "old" songs have on your subsequent enjoyment? Did you go back and search out the earliest recordings of the song(s)? If you did, how did the original version(s) - in your listening - compare to your "discoveries"?  

Nowadays, I routinely experience kind of an inverse musical dislocation whenever my twenty eight year old daughter discovers songs from my formative years. Recently hearing "Long Long Time" for the first time - a Gary White composition made famous by Linda Ronstadt in the early 70's - my musically astute daughter was, quite justifiably, blown away. She asked if I'd learn it to accompany her. Though I have not played "Long Long Time" once since my solo years playing in bars ended in 1978, the chords rolled effortlessly from my hands, in Linda Ronstadt's original key. That would be the key of "A" for the music geeks out there.

Accompanying my daughter is always an unmitigated joy. Hearing her sing this "old" song - and who needs a lyric sheet when you've got an I-phone? - made me miss my parents. I want to tell them how all "their" songs - "Til There Was You", "Where Or When", "I Only Have Eyes For You", etc. - might have initially come to me via the Beatles, Dion & The Belmonts and the Flamingos. But I've returned to the originals, Mom & Dad. And even if I still like Otis's read of "Try A Little Tenderness" more than you two did, I've had a musical lifetime of pleasure enjoying the old become new over and over.

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