by Kevin Burton
Twice on Facebook someone has asked me to do an album challenge that didn’t make sense to me.
The deal is you’re supposed to tell which ten albums influenced you when you were younger, one a day for ten days. You are supposed to just give the name of the artist and album and show the record cover; no explanation of why the album was meaningful.
I don’t get that. I can’t do that.
If you’re my friend, I want to know the story behind why you liked a certain musical act. I don’t need to see somebody’s record cover. In the words of Janis Joplin, I want a little piece of your heart.
If I just show you ten record covers, are you going to remember that? Why would you?
Also, giving the details of why you liked something might steer someone toward songs they would not have heard and enjoyed otherwise.
Chances are my favorite group is not your favorite group. But if I can recommend songs of theirs you haven’t heard, album cuts probably, maybe you get a new favorite, or at least something to enjoy.
Don’t we all have songs we like by acts we otherwise don’t like at all? For me, I don’t like Lynard Skynrd, but love the song “What’s Your Name.”
Or maybe with the song recommendations you just get further confirmation of why you don’t like a certain act. Fair enough.
The great Montgomery Gentry song “Hell Yeah,” has the lyric “Take me back to where the music hit me…”
That is what I want out of this. Anything less I would see as a waste of time.
So I want to do the album challenge, but in doing so I want to ask, what would Casey Kasem do?
Casey had details. Where is the singer from? How did the band members meet? How many notches did the song climb or fall? Was the song recorded in a bathroom to get just the right echo effect? Casey had all kinds of details. American Top 40 was an institution back then. No way I would miss the show. No way Casey would just give the song title and move on.
So here’s what I am going to do. I will take the album challenge and publish it on Page 7, but pull a Frank Sinatra and do it “my way.”
The ten albums part, I probably won’t stick to that either. I may do four, I may do 17. Whatever feels right. We’ll call it “Tuneful Tuesday” and publish my album choices on that day.
Before we get to specifics next week, a word about music in general.
In the old days, at the school for the blind, music was tribal. You had the rock tribe and the country tribe. If someone passed your room and you had the radio dial set to the wrong station, well, you had some ‘splainin to do.
Had a guy ask me once, “Why do you listen to corny (bleep) like that?” I forget what I told him. Now I would just shrug.
I got over that tribal stuff. Now, if you’re at my place and want to play my Sly and the Family Stone CD, you have to reach past my Helen Reddy CD to get it. No apologies, no explanations. Life is too short for such silliness.
There’s some classical stuff over there, instrumentals. I have Cream and Marie Osmond; Herman’s Hermits and the Commodores.
I am the programmer of my own personal radio station. So are you. It really is all about where the music hit you then and hits you now.
Another thing, along the way I may talk about some single songs rather than albums. I wasn’t always album-oriented back then.
Until then, this is me, looking at you through the hole in the record.