21 March 2013

Country Roads.

 Let me talk about music (some more)
While growing up, my exposure to music was limited. 

            My family didn’t have wide-ranging tastes. My mother collected LPs by standard artists: Elvis (Blue Hawaii, Gold Records, and 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong: Elvis' Gold Records – Volume 2), Gene Pitney (Greatest Hits), 101 Strings, and Henry Mancini. My grandparents had Sinatra (Sings for Only the Lonely and Ring a Ding Ding—still my favorite Sinatra album), and a multi-volume Time-Life classical collection. Mind you, no one ever seemed to listen to these albums; they collected dust.

             One Christmas, my grandmother presented me with a Mickey Mouse turntable and a few soundtracks from Disney animated films. I listened to those LPs until they popped and jumped, as LPs were wont to do, and then I moved onto the grown-ups’ records. I believe I was the only child in town who went about singing “A Foggy Day” under her breath. In contrast, my classmates were talking about Sweet’s Desolation Boulevard. I had no idea who Sweet might have been, and I certainly had no access to the LP (and Lord, by the time I heard my classmates talking about Desolation Boulevard, it must have been five or six years old). Someone wither inherited the album from an older sibling or they discovered it somewhere in “the city.” 
       Radio-wise, we lived in a mountain-bound community where one AM radio station held sway; FM was non-existent without fancy equipment to help capture stations from 100 miles away. This radio station, based in Idaho’s Silver Valley (which I think was KWAL), operated only between 5:00 AM and about 7:00 PM daily. It played a blend of farm reports, news updates, Paul Harvey commentaries, and country/pop hits (for example, I remember hearing both Lyn Anderson’s “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads," and Wings’ “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”). Essentially, you can say that while children elsewhere had the option of spinning a dial to discover radio stations offering different genres, I had what was pretty much a news station that played music, rather anodyne music, as filler. I did gain an appreciation for Paul Harvey that continues to this day.

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