Monday, June 17, 2013

Post 16: Time For All The Works And Days Of Dads

   So after writing three full posts last week that were only tangenitally related to music, I was planning on going back to writing posts in my regular style, but I think I'm going to hold off on that for one more week,mostly because it felt like I needed to do something special on this post for fathers day. I've only mentioned this briefly in passing on here, but my dad had a huge impact on my musical tastes growing up, and I feel like a owe him a debt for my impeccably good taste in music. So, I wanted to share some of my favorite songs that remind me of him, along with some memories of why they do.

   Growing up in my house, music was a pretty constant thing. Both my dad and two of my brothers played guitar, and everyone else in my family sings (loudly and without finesse, as a general rule), so typically if there was a group of more than five people together for any length of time we would start either singing or listening to music. It was typically classic folk songs, for two reasons; one, we had a book of classic folk songs, which makes it way easier to learn stuff, and second because folk music is really fun and really easy to sing along with. You know, because that's the point.

   But anyway, because of that most of the songs that remind me most strongly of my dad are folk pieces or doggerel that my brothers made up on the fly, which then propagated down through admiring younger siblings. The unfortunate side effect of this is that the versions of those songs that have the most resonance with me have never been recorded, so it's hard to capture the exact spirit of songs that I grew up loving. Happily, however, this being folk music a ton of people made a ton of covers of a ton of songs (most of which, as I'm sure you all know, were originally written by Bob Dylan), and so there are pretty of other pieces I can share with you, and will proceed to do so whether you want me to or not.

   Probably the single biggest group that reminds me of my dad is the Womenfolk. They were an all-female folk group that sang throughout the 60's, were relatively popular, and then pretty much faded into oblivion when people stopped thinking about folk music. They had a lot of very campy, silly music, and a lot of their work could be considered novelty songs, but they also had ridiculously tight harmonies, solid guitar work and voices like angels, and even at their most mindless, the music itself was beautifully executed. As an unfortunate side effect of everyone forgetting about them, it's difficult to find copies of most of their work online, let alone high quality versions, so I don't have any youtube links for their songs. However, Spotify does have their discography so I'll have several of their songs for this weeks playlist.

  After the Womefolk, I'd say the other band mostly tightly wound up with my memories of Dad are The Seekers. He's always had a soft spot for good female vocalists, particularly altos, and for as long as I've been around he has maintained that Judith Durham was one of the best. I haven't found any evidence to contradict him on that claim so far; I've loved their music for as long as I've known it. Georgy Girl has always been my favorite by them, but I'm also very fond of A World Of Our Own and I'll Never Find Another You.

   Lastly, Simon and Garfunkel. Dad's always loved them ,but I'm including them on this list mainly for one song. I suspect most people who read this know that my mom died more than twelve years ago, when I was eight years old. I have lost a lot of memories of her, but right after she died I vividly remember my dad listening to Bridge Over Troubled Water, and telling me that it was 'their' song, the song that they danced to at their wedding. Every time I hear it I'm reminded of them, and I feel like this wouldn't be complete without it.

  Honestly, there are way more songs that ought to go into this list than I could possibly fit on here; my dad was one of the main reasons that I fell in love with music in the first place, and I have literally thousands of songs that I mentally consider to be his. Without the passions and loves that he passed along to me, I suspect I would have grown into a much more boring and less happy person. Thanks, Dad; you did much more than any reasonable person should have needed to.

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