If you know me I’m sure the title got your attention. You are probably thinking; I’m surprised he can spell music; he needs to stick with subjects he knows something about. You are probably right. My musical talent is limited to tuning a radio or finding the play knob or button on a record player (remember those), tape player or CD player.
I think most people identify with the music they grew up with. My dad’s favorite singer was Roy Acuff. A couple of Roy’s hits were “Wabash Cannonball” and “The Great Speckled Bird”; he did what was known as Hillbilly Music, which transitioned to today’s Country music. My girls called his style “Hard Country” and avoided it whenever possible.
My kids “go to” music is the rock music of the 80s and 90s; the grandkids are more comfortable with today’s sounds. I like some of the stuff they listen to and likewise they are ok with limited exposure to the stuff from my era. If we want to enjoy time with old friends, I think we all prefer the music we grew up with. The same holds true for when you need a little music to help you through the tough times.
The music I grew up with was the beginning of this stuff called Rock and Roll. It was a combination of a new hillbilly sound referred to as rockabilly and a different style of rhythm and blues. Some of the rockabilly guys were a kid named Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison. The rhythm and blues and jazz group included Fats Domino, Little Richard, Ray Charles and Chuck Berry to name a few. I must mention Bill Haley. He is credited with starting it all with a song titled “Rock Around The Clock”. He didn’t really fit either of the groups above if you had to categorize him probably Western Swing would be the best fit.
My dad wondered where he went wrong, we didn’t have to listen to that stuff; some radio stations were still playing Roy Acuff, Webb Pierce and Hank Snow. Little Richard doing “Good Golly Miss Molly” would actually make the hair stand up on dad’s neck. Some of the stuff my girls listened to did that to me.
The pre Beatles Rock and Roll is and has always been my “go to” music. It makes no difference if it is to get together with people from my generation to have a good time or as in recent months to help me through some tough times. The four artists I have spent a lot of time with recently are Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Buddy Holly. The Cash, Charles, and Orbison numbers I have concentrated on were written and recorded to help their listeners through the perils of a broken romance; I was a recipient of some of that help many years ago. Today I listen for the same reason although my loss is beyond that of a busted teenybopper romance.
I have always liked Johnny Cash I think partially because of his deep voice; I always thought if I could sing I might sound a little like Johnny but we’ll never know. I like all of his early stuff but the course of one of those songs recorded in 1958 “Guess Things Happen That Way” kind of reminds me of what Sharyl did for me it goes like this:
God gave me that girl to lean on,
then he put me on my own.
Heaven help me be a man
and have the strength to stand-alone.
I don’t like it but I guess things happen that way
The Ray Charles version of “I Cant Stop Loving You” recorded in 1962 has always been one of my favorite lonesome time songs. Some of the lyrics that keep spinning in my head are:
Those happy hours that we once knew
Tho’ long ago, they still make me blue
They say that time heals a broken heart
But time has stood still since we’ve been apart
I can’t stop loving you
I’ve made up my mind
To live in memories of the lonesome times
I can’t stop wanting you
It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life in dreams of yesterday
I my opinion Roy Orbison is one of the best vocalist and songwriters of all time. My favorite of all his work was recorded in 1960 it is titled “Only The Lonely”. Some of the lyrics in the last verse refer to maybe finding a new romance, that certainly doesn’t apply to my present situation but otherwise it is pretty close.
Only the lonely Know the way I feel tonight Only the lonely Know this feeling ain’t right
There goes my baby
There goes my heart
They’re gone forever
So far apart
But only the lonely
Buddy Holly and the Crickets came out of Lubbock, Texas in 1956 with a new sound and were an instant hit in the world of Rock and Roll. He was killed in a plane crash in February 1959; he was 22 years old. I was a junior in high school and Sharyl was just in Jr. high when he recorded his last song. His stuff remained very popular through the early sixties and for some reason it became “our” music. Neither of us had a favorite song we just enjoyed the sound; we kept several of his albums; I no longer have a way to play them but they aren’t going anywhere. The time I have spent with him recently has brought back a lot of good memories of the years we spent together.
I hope the picture does for you what it did for me; it brought a tear to my eye for obvious reasons and simultaneously it put a smile on my face because it rekindled fond memories of a happier time.
I love you guys with all my heart and I miss you every day.
Please consider a donation to the Cancer Research organization of your choice and keep me in your prayers.