I remember hearing the Chambers Brothers’ Time Has Come Today on the radio, when music was mixed to be heard on the radio. It jumped out from the usual pop music of the time. I had the single, a friend had The Time Has Come lp with the longer version – very trippy but the rest of the music was more r’n’b than trippy. I picked up the cd back in 2003 for the memory & my taste has grown & I love all of it.When we upgraded to higher speed I download a couple of their others lps which are on an mp3 collection: Unbonded, New Generation: both fine but they never had another hit as big as Time. Solid musicians with a strong sense of social reality. Being solid musicians wasn’t enough make them memorable beyond their big hit. The search for more by the Chamber Brothers lead to S.O.B’s Shades of Brown (1970). A looser funkier version on the Chambers. Someone had posted the lp cover on Tumblr – half-naked men always get my attention. On the Cadet label this is beautifully recorded & the music is fun, sexy & political. Also in this mp3 collection are Robert Crumb’s Heroes of Blues; Mound City Blue Blowers – the first the CD to accompany a book of the same name: I love these historic recording that remind me what we hear now isn’t so new after all. Dock Boggs anyone. the 2nd one of the bands that could have appeared on the first – great 20’s-30’s non-Big Band stuff & great fun. As I like collections that span history so I’ve added KC & the Sunshine Band: Hits – full of disco memories. The same is true for Lipps Inc. Funky Town is a great song even if there was no actual band outside of the studio. Finally there are The Darcys: a TO band who released, for free, their cover version of Steely Dan’s Aja – these are great songs given perhaps a too tidy rendering – I was hoping for more remakes rather than duplicates but still worth downloading at the price 🙂
This is such an old story I’m hoping readers will know what a Walkman is – several had been my constant companions & banes since the 70’s. I always dread the way they would unexpectedly chew up my favourite music.
Sound Effects part 1
“You call your Walkman, Barnaby?” The coat-check guy at the bar asked when he saw the name hand stitched into the flap of my Walkman’s leather carry holster.
“It’s not just a disk drive for my brain, you know. It’s like a pet, my seeing-eye dog. I take it for walks. It protects me from dangerous thoughts when I feed it regularly.” I joked, putting in a tape. “Nothing to clean up after.”
“A pet? It’s turned your brain to mush.”
“Too late!” I laughed, adjusting the headphones over my ears still ringing from the sound-barrier-breaking volume the DJ at Matthews has resorted to, to somehow fill the disco with enough music to make up for the lack of bodies.
“Have a good night … with Barnaby.” The coat-check jock grinned.
“Sure beats going home alone.”
Outside I turned on the Talking Heads to drive out the brain damage of disco. Once home I’d heal my blistered ears with a helping of Bach partitias. For some reason there just wasn’t enough sound in classical music to survive the subway system.
As I got down to the subway platform, I was turning Barnaby up a notch for one of my favourite synaesthesia inducing breaks when a heart-stopping shriek cut through. Turning him down to zero, I spun around. Both platforms were empty. Another scream started then ended abruptly with a harsh gasp.
I dashed upstairs but there was just the ticket taker sleepily leafing through a newspaper. I rewound the tape on the way down. The train was just pulling in and I got on, pushing the play button, thankful for the comfortable familiarity of the Head. I adjusted the volume and settled in for the trip home. Directly behind me I heard arguing voices.
“I’ll treat you any way I choose,” some guy barked.
“Take a hike then, asshole,” an angry female replied.
I heard a shove and turned, half expecting some drunk to fall on me. There was no one, just some post-Madonna girl several seats behind me. I turned back, the screaming started again. I then realized that it was on the tape.
I pulled the headphones off, but could only hear the underground sounds. I slipped them back on in time to hear the gasp that followed the scream. I rewound and played it back again. The angry conversation was actually there.
Some joker must have tampered with my tape. But why? Well, the next time I was at Matthews I’d let them know how funny Barnaby and I found their little joke.
The next morning, I breakfasted with Anita O’Day’s Hits. Just as the egg-timer was ringing, I heard:
“What you lookin’ at, faggot?” snarled in the midst of her singing Skylark.
“Don’t start up, Rick,” cut in a slightly tipsy female.
Shit! You must be picking up some TV broadcast, I thought, looking accusingly at Barnaby.
“See somethin’ ya like?”
Well, that’s not local TV.
“Give it a rest, Rick.”
“Stop tellin’ me what to do, bitch!” Slap.
We were tapping into some private, little scene. But where was it coming from?
“I told you to never treat me that way.” Shove.
“I’ll treat you any way …”
I stopped the tape. I knew the rest and didn’t relish that scream so early in the day.
March 12, Saturday: attending:
March 16, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – featuring The Ragdolls Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9
June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC
June 11 – attending: The Toronto Poetry Talks – 10 AM – Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3C6
July 4-8: attending: Chasing your Tale – Loyalist – Belleville
I’ve already registered
November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet