Reminiscing the Blues

Listening to 70’s music

Nothing sets me to reminiscing quite like the 70’s singer/songwriter playlist on Apple Music. It’s almost painful to listen to, because the music cuts through to my childhood, which was not always a pleasant place. I had to deal with isolation, heartbreak, and the day-to-day chaos of living with my mother. Any memories of my childhood evoke sadness, even if they’re happy memories.

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Listening to “American Pie” by Don McLean or “Helpless” by Neil Young makes me feel like someone is pulling my memories out of my mind and laying them bare for all to see. I feel every bit of loneliness; I want to cry.

Yet I still listen because those are my memories. They are who I am. Remembering them makes me feel more whole, because otherwise I would be drifting through life without an anchor.

Happy memories

It’s fair to wonder if I have good memories of childhood. To be honest, I don’t have many, or at least few that I remember right now. I remember the good Christmases at my grandmother’s, I remember cooking with my parents, I remember sessions with my speech teacher (who was sort of a deputized school psychologist’s aide, I’ve been told), I remember playing in kindergarten, I remember playing outside in the summer.

Strange thing, though, that music doesn’t evoke those moments. I listen to the old music and feel the sadness. Music helps me reminisce the blues.

Part 2 of Yesterday’s Post: A Song Emerges

I used to be a singer-songwriter before I divorced my guitarist twenty years ago. Not an incredibly good one, because my husky contralto voice wasn’t trained or crystal-clear, but good enough for folk music. My ex would write intricate tunes on his guitar in his semi-fingerpicking style, and I’d listen to it, and the conversation would go like this:

Me: I have words that fit with that.
Him: How can you? It’s seven-fourths time.
Me: Try me.

Nowadays, we’d say “Hold my beer” instead of “Try me”, but this was the early 1990’s.

I believe that I posted some of my old lyrics here — I don’t sing those songs now except a cappella, because I didn’t get the chords in the divorce, nor did I learn to play guitar. My ex still performs and has CDs out I hear. For any reader who knows him, please tell me if he ever performs the stuff we wrote together, because there are intellectual property issues involved there.

Anyhow, I hadn’t written a song since 1997, because even if I had tunes in my head, I would not be able to write them down or play them on a guitar. My voice has become somewhat rusty out of lack of practice and age and the medication I take.

Yesterday, I posted the first song I’d written in maybe 20 years (see the post called “Christmas in a Time of Despots”). It didn’t take me long to write because I’ve been stewing for weeks about our current sociopolitical situation here in America.

On Facebook, I posted the same thing but asked if anyone could come up with the music part. And one of my musical colleagues/friends answered!

Sometime soon I will get with her to play with the music/words and have a song! For the first time in twenty years.

I don’t know if you’re reading, Mary Shepherd, but thank you!!