I'm on vacation!
This should have been the time that I wound down my duties at work, and passed everything over to the folks in Europe, but it looks like lingering contractual obligations to some (mostly non-Europe) clients are leaving me in limbo — there's seemingly no one left in the company who can handle their cases. The Europers won't.
But, for the next ten days, barring any sudden crises, I'm going to try to put it out of my mind. We're road-tripping to Toronto.
I tend to doze off at night to WNYC's broadcast of On Point
, a show I term "the second most depressing talk show on radio" — John Batchelor's return to the air (on WABC and KFI, Sunday nights) means that he has reclaimed the top spot. Last night's On Point
featured an attempt at lighter fare for an hour: "Count Basie and the American Soundtrack"
It was a time of Depression and FDR, Joe Louis and Amelia Earhart. It had a soundtrack. And Count Basie was a huge part of it.
Do we have a soundtrack today? Gnarls Barkley? Beck?
And I'm thinking, this is a ridiculous Freedom Rock
view to take.
I doubt that folks in the early heyday of the Basie band
thought in terms of having a collective soundtrack to their lives; it seems more a construct of later decades — a means of selling Pepsi to The Pepsi Generation, or Glenn Miller's greatest hits to their parents and grandparents, or NOW That's What I Call Classic Rock!
shovelware to their children and grandchildren. (Plus, "everything ever recorded" is theoretically at our fingertips, to an extent unthinkable in previous generations. I've now heard Gracie Allen's singing voice. I love her so much that I'm willing to forget having heard her sing.)
My mother and grandfather-in-law were of different ages in 1938, child and adolescent, respectively, and they no doubt heard some Basie on the radio back then, and grooved to his music in later decades, and would groove to it now, were I to put on a Basie CD. It was my parents' love of the music that made it a part of my '60s soundtrack, not quite as much a presence in my life back then as JohnPaulGeorgeAndRingo
, or "Build Me Up, Buttercup" or Ramsey Lewis' "The In Crowd" (now resurrected on Don Imus' TV simulcast), but present nonetheless. And the Allman Brothers music that was foisted on me by AOR stations back in the day, well, it's present now (and this time around I actually like it!), no need of any help from NOW!
But enough of this collective hallucination of some narrow array of supposed era-defining musics. 1938 (or so) was probably also about Dennis Day or Xavier Cugat, or Mahalia Jackson or Roy Acuff, depending on where you sat. That '30s was part of my '70s.
Now here's some '60s music. (Eat your damn paisley, you dirty hippies!)