Did “Baby Love” the newspaper route?

Picture it, 1964:

My mother, Sue, was 13 and heard “Baby Love” on the radio for the first time. Always dreaming of being happily married with two kids (and older boy and younger girl, which she did get), she’d never really “fallen in love.”

She did, however, fall in love with Diana Ross via The Supremes, whose billboard hit washed over the airwaves. This new-found passion for music lead her to take up her brother’s paper route so she could buy the 45 of “Baby Love.” At the house at the end of the street, an attractive Italian boy named Danny opened the door.
It was then that the golden voice of Diana Ross wrapped around Mom’s heart strings, repressing the beating vessel from a sudden explosion in her esophagus.

“Here’s the payment. Mom doesn’t want the paper anymore,” he said, rendering my mother speechless.

“Oh, okay,” is what she said but her head was screaming “Baby Love, I need you! Oh, how I need you!”

Somehow, as destined things do, it worked out and they became and on-and-off couple for six years. It was with Barbara Mason’s, “I’m Ready,” that they officially became a couple. He took her hand as the park radio boombox lifted Barbara Mason’s voice into the air, “I don’t even know how to hold your hand.” Mom knew the next line by heart, and sure enough, Danny found a way to “kiss [her] lips.”

The rest of the years flew by to a Supremes’ soundtrack. From the urging “I need you” of “Baby Love” to the warning, when he was untrue, “Stop! In the Name of Love” their love was defined by the 33s and 45s, along with my Mom, spinning in her room.

The love reconciled before Woodstock, but sadly, Danny met his death in a tragic motorcycle accident. Mom’s life has been defined by that tragedy, but moreover, by the strength and passion for music that she extracted from each groove of her worn-down records.

They say that love heals all wounds. If music is love, then I agree.

Cherish one another.

Be well and rock on,

Rachael

Back to Bass-ics

So you’ve already tuned into my cheesy humor, I assume. It struck me, recently, that though I rave about music, I’ve never talked about the bass guitar specifically.

Most musicians are multi-talented when it comes to playing music. Pianists sing, write music, pick up the guitar…with the rise of technology and Guitar Hero, the bass seems to be left out!

Some music fans will tap out the drum beats or hum the guitar solo. For me, it has always been the bass line that draws me in. I do sing and write lyrics and for that reason, I bought an acoustic guitar. I cannot sing and play bass simultaneously (at least not yet!) Kudos to Paul McCartney for being so multi-talented, especially as a lefty.
I, too, am of the right-brained ilk, yet I taught myself to play righty for ease and cost-effectiveness.

It’s been said that once you play guitar, bass is easy. I think that it’s recommended. My bass training makes a guitar seem like an entirely different animal.
Though I have a small hand-span, I’ve developed a five, almost six bass-fret reach. To crunch my fingers down into a tiny A minor chord is an unnatural thing.
But I digress. Why the bass? Sometimes our preferences cannot be explained.

For me, the bass moves everything. It’s the rhythm of your feet hitting the pavement as you walk to your lunch date. It’s the sound you hear in your head when the monotonous checkout beeps become something more. At least, sometimes they do, for me. Almost anything tags into a song for me.
Give me a word and I’ll give you a song. (And that sentence closely resembles Collective Soul’s “Shine,” doesn’t it?)

When I first got my bass, I laid beneath the Christmas tree and put my ear to it, just to hear the low vibrations. (We were a bit poor so the amp came later!) It was in the “low-end” that my music dreams began.

Some bands that have some kicking bass lines?

Tool
(old) Metallica
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Third Eye Blind
Jane’s Addiction
Rush (of course.)
Pearl Jam
Sunny Day Real Estate
A Perfect Circle
Soundgarden
The Replacements
The Smashing Pumpkins (Can’t say that D’arcy didn’t have something to do with my decision to play)
The Beatles
Led Zeppelin
Radiohead
Toad the Wet Sprocket

And there are sooooo many more. I kept wanting to put exclamation points by all of those selections. They can never be, of course, in any order of preference!!!

And this is definitely not the last post about the wonders of the bass guitar…

I’ll close with one of my favorite bass lines, courtesy of Third Eye Blind:

And a favorite from Radiohead, too:

Be well and rock on,

Rachael

“And the seasons roll on by…”

(The subject quote is from Chris Cornell’s “Seasons.”)

This morning was not easy. It was one of those need-to-write-but-getting-distracted-by-stupid-stuff days. When I was washing my dishes I said, “This morning needs music!” I picked a playlist on my iPod I’d created for my Provincetown trip with Mom. Not long after I pressed play, I heard an intro that made me smile. There was an, “OHMYGOD, I love this song!” before I ever recollected which one it was. Turns out, it was from the Band of Joy CD (Robert Plant’s latest effort.) What a great effort is was, in my opinion.

I was fortunate enough to see them in January and as I listened to Patte Griffin’s voice in harmony with Robert, it reminded me of all the naysayers who wrote unkind things about Robert’s new style.

Does Paul McCartney still sound like his Helter Skelter days? Maybe not, but he can still rock it out. Does everyone like folk girl Jewel turning pop overnight? What about Ozzy’s “No More Tears” days versus Black Sabbath?

You get the point. I have a friend who fell in love with Robert and his solo stuff before she ever went back to discover the wonders of Led Zeppelin blues.

People on different forums, I’d like to call them fans but their comments suggest otherwise, and have been brutal. Some have demanded a Zep reunion. They are blind to the fact that it’s simply a different era for Plant and he’s trying to do a new thing.

Plant himself, regarding the effort to reunite Led Zeppelin, states, “I think the thing about it is really, is that to visit old ground, it’s a very incredibly delicate thing to do, and the disappointment that could be there once you commit to that and the comparisons to something that was basically fired by youth and a different kind of exuberance to now, its very hard to go back and meet that head on and do it justice.”*

I would hope that most fans would understand that and be open to embracing his new talents. In music today, there’s been a push to folky, country-rock, if you will. Most of it, like The Civil Wars, is top-notch stuff. Plant’s collaboration with the lovely Allison Krauss on Raising Sands (2007) segued him into the idea for Band of Joy. It’s a different style all together. Plant delivers justice with the new style and I commend him for not trying to rehash something that was beautiful. You (probably) wouldn’t want to re-invent your first love, would you? Some things are better in the past.

I know I’ve already ranted about the despicable behavior of fans at the latest Eddie Vedder solo show, so I’ll keep this brief. While Band of Joy’s “Harm’s Swift Way,” melted warm sunshine into my ears, I couldn’t help but think of fans’ reaction to Eddie’s ukulele songs. Some of those concert-goers wanted some re-invention of Pearl Jam and didn’t see that Eddie was trying to do a new thing. I felt that he was dissed by their ignorant and mostly rude behavior.

Eddie was genial and more than gracious, giving the fans a taste of some Pearl Jam numbers, of course. But Ukulele Songs is a genre all its own and people, if they really love Eddie, need to be more open-minded about his artistic deviations.

True fans know that music is wild and malleable and wont to change. It’s important to be open to the changing seasons of their lives and their maturing musical inclinations.

“If he only knew now what he knew then.” (Pearl Jam, “I’m Open.”)

Be open. I’m Open.

And Eddie also tells us that “it makes much more sense to live in the present tense.”

This is one of my favorite results of the latest Joy:

Be well, be open, and rock on,

Rachael
*http://www.nme.com/news/led-zeppelin/42530 accessed 9/2/2011