Happy Father’s Day to the Dad’s & Grandads out there (including my own if you see this)! Today I thought I would share one of the ways my Dad has impacted my life. Be ready for an interesting menagerie of music as I give you a peek in to my past and an arm chair trip around the world!
(videos are embedded on the website, but by email you can click on any links you see to be taken to the songs)
While both of my parents nurtured creativity in me, there are two areas in which Dad had the largest role: Music & Writing.
Some of my earliest memories are of Dad playing all sorts of music in the home. He has exposed me to SO many types of music, much of which was cultural. I expect that is a big part of why other cultures interest me so much!
You may (or may not) be surprised by this one, but the very first music I remember being exposed to was reggae music in the form of Bob Marley and the Wailers. :D So let’s start off with a trip to Jamaica -the land of Reggae music!
I can remember dancing around the dining room table before I was even of school age to the song “Buffalo Soldier”. I thought the lyrics were amusing and I loved the beat of the drums and overall rhythm of the song. I would sing at the top of my lungs the Wo yo yo part and the line that said “dreadlock rasta” (only I would say dreadlock Arasta) as that is how I thought it was pronounced and I liked the sound of those words.
I can still remember one of Daddy’s special songs for me (by Bob Marley of course) , which he would sing to me:
“Rise up this morning, smiled with the rising sun.
Three little birds sit by my doorstep.
Singing sweet songs, of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, this is my message to you.
Singing don’t worry , about a thing,
Cause every little thing is gonna be alright
There was lots of hippy-like singer songwriter music (Gordon Lightfoot, Simon & Garfunkle, and other records -as my parents had a pretty large record collection), Blues music and Quirky Folk music of all kinds & from different countries even. Just about everything you could think of, but my Dad really was in to the unique stuff.
One quirky folk song I also laughed at a lot as a child was called “Lazy Bones” by Leon Redbone (who is from Canada):
“Lazy bones. Sittin in the shade. How you gonna get your corn meal made? You’ll never get your corn meal made…lyin in the noon day shade. “
He has a very unique style of singing , that sounds old fashioned, slightly bluesy, and comical all at the same time. This video is quaint and takes you back to simpler times. I get a laugh out of the pictures mixed with these lyrics about being lazy:
Daddy also taught me to appreciate the blues…and oh how I love the blues! The rhythms stir up something in my soul and make me just FEEL the music. I have to move to the beat :).
One of my favorite blues musicians that he has exposed me to would be Guy Davis , who sings some quirky fun songs about things such as Armitron watches- (“She gave me a wristwatch and put it on and said, now you’ve got you an armitron. Right on time…right on time, as long as I’ve got my armitron it will keep me right on time!”) shortenin bread, and Honey Babe (love ya til the day I die) & a more serious one-”Can anybody tell me where the road is..I’m just tryin to find my way back home”. This particular album is called “Chocolate to the Bone”.
Another favorite blues song is called “Rosa” by Otis Taylor. The lyrics are simple and repetitive but SO powerful. It is about the story of Rosa Parks, and about Freedom.
“Who’s that standin up? Talkin bout..Free.. Freedom.”
Then there is Daddy’s love of bluegrass music. I can’t remember all of the bands he has played around me, but one that comes to mind is the “Kickin Grass Band” with their songs “Life is Not a Guarantee” (no you can’t coast through it..gotta step up to the plate and be brave) and The Backroads ain’t the backroads anymore (cause they’re bringing in the blacktop and sellin all the farms lol). In fact that is the title of that album..”Backroads”. So on to North Carolina for a sample of this band then!
But we haven’t take a trip to Ireland and Scotland yet!! Oh yes , there was Celtic folk music and I adore that too. In fact, when I was in high school my dad took our family and my great great Aunt Doris to an Irish Concert by a group called Altan at a place called “The Ark” in Ann Arbor, MI. They mostly sing in Gaelic, which is quite interesting. Here is a song they did called “The Jug of Punch” (the video has pretty photos of Ireland in it too):
“You take the high road and I’ll take the low road..and I’ll be to Scotland afore ye”…Loch Lomond from a CD by Steve MacDonald that Dad got me in to. This guy has some amazingly beautiful songs from the instruments he plays to his voice:
And last but not least, Roger Whittaker reminds me of Dad too. His songs take me right back to childhood as I can remember Dad playing the song “The Last Farewell”. His songs & voice were soothing like a lullaby to me when I was small. As you can see Dad impacted my life a lot by raising me with music from a very young age (he even is the reason why I play many instruments -but that is a story for a diff. time). It has made me a well rounded person with lots of interests, exposure to many cultures, and has allowed me to connect with people from many different walks of life in all age groups. I suppose that is part of why for my age I am a bit of an old soul!
So thank you Dad for this gift you have given me (and for many more). Since I started this post with the first song I remember Dad singing me, I will end this post with the second song I remember Dad ever playing , “The Last Farewell” , with this line from that song:
“For you are beautiful , and I have loved you dearly. More dearly than the spoken word can tell.”
Questions: In what ways has your dad influenced your life? What music reminds you of your dad? And- have you ever heard any of this quirky mixture of music I shared with you today?!