Sunday, June 10, 2012

Can't Write Now, I'm In My Head

Lately I've been thinking, "I should really listen to some old Moody Blues albums."

This is your brain on 60s progressive rock.
I blame satellite radio for this train of thought.

For the last couple of months I've been listening to Deep Tracks on Sirius/XM (Channel 27, and you're welcome for the permanent earworm you're about to get). Holy crap, I've heard some amazing stuff on this station. Honestly, discovering Leslie West's "My Gravity" is, by itself, worth an entire year's subscription to satellite radio.

(Buy this album. Leslie West is amazing, and the dude just had a leg amputated and is still rocking. Support his musical legacy. /end of PSA.)

Anyway, not long ago Beloved Spouse and I were listening to Deep Tracks, and an old Moody Blues song - I believe it was "Gypsy (Of a Strange and Distant Time)" - came on. BelSpouse commented, "Wow, I don't think I've ever heard this song." My response was, "Wow, I haven't heard this song in a long time." As it turns out, when it comes to me and the Moody Blues, there is no such thing as a deep track, i.e., a song so obscure or seldom-played that it's unfamiliar to most people who hear it.

For this I have my mom to blame and/or praise.

Also for dressing me like Cindy Brady.
 When I was growing up, my mom always played records (or eight-track tapes) while she did housework. And I came to know her favorites by heart. For the most part, that's a very good thing. Thanks to Mom, I number among my favorite albums Joan Baez' Diamonds and Rust, Neil Diamond's Hot August Night and Serenade, and Linda Ronstadt's Different Drum. All classics.

But Mom really loved the Moody Blues. Days of Future Passed, Seventh Sojourn, To Our Children's Children's Children, In Search of the Lost Chord - on Tuesdays and Fridays, when she did the laundry and most of the deep housecleaning, she'd put on the Moodys and go all morning. Sometimes it drove me crazy.

OMG, we had this exact eight-track deck.
Those four little red buttons would cycle through for hours.
 As a result, I came to know all of these albums by heart. Note for note, song for song, ponderous orchestral interlude for ponderous orchestral interlude. And once music burrows itself that deeply into your psyche, it never really goes away.

So when I heard that old Moody Blues song on Deep Tracks, it was a bit like recovering a repressed memory. The floodgates opened. It was more than nostalgia, more than rediscovery. It was almost a full-fledged flashback. I could practically feel the polyester scratching my skin.

And smell the incense.
Mom loved burning incense.
And ever since I've felt a growing urge to drag out those albums and listen to them. Well, I can't exactly drag them out. But I can do the next-best, 21st century thing: listen to them on Rhapsody.

So I'm listening to the Moody Blues' A Question of Balance as I write this. I feel like a five-year-old on an acid trip. Which possibly is a disturbing thing. I don't know. I'm really caught up in jazz flute and multi-tracked vocals right now. I'm deep into ethereal lyrics that mean nothing but evoke past times and mystical shit. It's all I can do to keep from murmuring "Oh, wow" every few minutes.

It's completely awesome.

Didn't get this cover then, don't get it now.
Didn't care then, don't care now.
 I guess the reason Mom played these albums over and over again - and why I'm going to start playing them over and over again, I can just feel it - is because for all their pretentiousness and faux grandeur and hippy-dippy transcendental bushwah, they're fantastic slices of sound. And they evoke a time in the history of music, and in my life, that is unforgettable.

And yeah, I'm sort of a sucker for prog rock.

Anyway, maybe this will inspire some of you to listen to some old Moody Blues. And maybe you'll hate it. Or maybe you'll love it. Best of all, maybe you'll remember it.

Oh, and at the moment, Precocious Daughter is humming "Dawning Is the Day" without even realizing it. And the earworm is passed on to a new generation. She'll thank me...eventually.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.