My father was a person who could appreciate a good tune who also tinkered a bit with electronics. Every Sunday, he would set up his reel-to-reel player, and fast forward and rewind, ad infinitum.
Since it was not just about playing the music, but getting the best sound possible, there were many nights when I would fall asleep with the refrain, “left channel front, right channel rear”, ringing in my ears, long after he finished testing the speakers.
So when he was satisfied, we would be heralded with the sounds of Mantovani and his Orchestra, Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini, and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Shirley Bassey had a place, as did The Mighty Sparrow, so I was exposed to a variety of styles.
Back then, without the overabundance of technology to smooth and correct, it was easy to tell which singers had the better voices. These days, when you hear some singers perform live, you realize that a whole lot of work went into the recordings. Having been party to a recording session or two, I have realized that it’s no small effort, and I take my hat off to those who do it professionally.
But there’s nothing like the “unplugged” versions to show the listeners what you’re really working with. Some of the popular music leaves a lot to be desired, but I’ve realized that sometimes you have to search for the better artists since they’re not necessarily the ones with the million dollar contracts. On the other hand, some ‘singers’ think that we need to hear all the details, expletives included.
My husband appreciates some of the old songs, but he makes a point to keep up with the new releases. He says he wants to know what the younger people are listening to – he sees it as his responsibility to the kids.
Not too long ago I was talking music appreciation with some folks, and even as I tried to sing some of my favourites, I noticed them looking at me blankly. Then it hit me. They were too young to know – or maybe – I was too old.