I wrote this originally on Monday 21st so if this seems a little frivolous I apologise. I will comment on this week’s events next week, when I have had time to reflect. Until then I want to think lighter thoughts.
It always amazes me the random things that we find on each other’s CD shelves. I do not mean something like a small ceramic duck, or a signed photograph of Russ Abbot. I am thinking more of the slightly odd music choice that sits out of place with the rest of the shelf occupants. Look at your CD collection – I’m sure you know which one I am talking about, it is probably the one that is shoved in the corner or moved so anyone glancing at the shelf might miss it.
It is time to confess my CD sin.
Actually, I have multiple sins to confess. The lesser of the two is probably the copy of the very best of Val Doonican, with the late crooner cheerily grinning out from the cover in the usual avuncular cardigan. Worse perhaps, at least in terms of the sheer level of transgression, are my multiple Barbara Dickson albums. Yes, you read that correctly.
The trouble is, sometimes I quite like Easy Listening.
I know that is a terrible thing to say and I’d much rather champion the heavy rock or multiple alternative artists that are lurking in there as well, but there is no hiding the fact that they are rubbing shoulders with Dean Martin and Matt Monroe.
I guess part of the problem is parental indoctrination. Val and Barbara (together with Johnny Mathis and Elkie Brooks) were a large part of my parents listening pleasure and needless to say that meant I had them played at me throughout my childhood. This normally seems to result in one of two outcomes. First there is the outright rejection of it and I know plenty of people who would not even contemplate having any of their parent’s music in their house, never mind actually play any of it. But the other possibility is that at least some of the music worms its way into your consciousness and actually you end up rather fond of it. Maybe because I had a happy childhood with very dear parents that playing some of their music just make me feel relaxed and happy.
There is terrible music out there but most of the time it is more the case that some music works for you and doesn’t work for others. I will groan a bit at old Val singing ‘Delaney’s Donkey’ (though it is quite funny) but then again there is a song like ‘Elusive Butterfly’ which I still think is a lovely song, beautifully executed.
I put it on and I am ten again, and I can almost feel the hugs from my late mum.
A few years ago the Lovely Wife indulged me and allowed me to drag her to see Barbara Dickson when her tour included St Albans. I was quite nervous – not so much for the possible agony that I might be putting the Lovely Wife through, but more that the voice and delivery would not live up to the more perfect production of the records I grew up with. Obviously I did not need to worry – she was amazing. But it was at that time that I noted how important this music was to me.
So please don’t abuse me too much – my music tastes are pretty eclectic and I’m sure there is something you like that I do too. But I do have to sit back and chill sometimes… Maybe with the only record (to date) I have had dedicated for me on the radio – back when I was ten. And that song was ‘Born Free’ by Matt Monroe. I still think that it is a stonking good track, so I’ll just plead guilty as charged (M’Lord) and go get my headphones.