Sunday, 7 April 2019


Well, I reckon that most folk would point to their parents. Yup, they f*ck you up as prescribed and described by Larkin, but their touch is indelible.
Betty's just been and gone back up north. I reckon that I get the hair and the stare from her. But it was my Dad who informed and initiated a lot of my musical habits. He loved a melancholic lift did Terry. He reckoned that Hoagy Carmichael's 'Stardust' was the most perfect melody in modern popular music, was strangely stirred to tears by the trombone solo in Frank's 'I've Got you under My Skin', got me swooning to the sweet lyricism of 'Moon River' and 'Danny Boy'. He sat me in front of the big speakers and explained the importance of 'The Protest Song', always starting and ending with Paul Robeson's 'Old Man River'. He made me fall in love with Bobbie Gentry and Dusty Springfield, insisted that Nat King Cole's was the most gorgeous of voices whilst recognising that Sinatra was the greatest all rounder, only just pipping his Dad Joshua's favourite: Tony Bennett. He rated 'Wichita Lineman' as a stone cold classic. He introduced me to the trad jazz of Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong and knew every lyric to every Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel hit. He nearly (but not
quite) hit all of the high notes when he sang along. That was the downside. Dad's tenor was almost as strangulated as Harry Secombe's: another hero.
He didn't much like the music that I listened to: I tried to impress him: likely too hard. He knew what he liked did Terry: let's call him a pedantic romantic. He wasn't that impressed by the music I wrote either: a compliment was as rare as hug, but it didn't stop me from trying. That was an affirmation that I only got on the rugby pitch.
This morning I'm playing the playlist that I made for his wake and... it's ringing all of the bells.
Have a listen if you like:…/1127459430/playlist/1StLZZ8Yipvs…
But... the one that rang the biggest bell this morning was this. Likely because it's the only one that El Tel couldn't sing along to but, lordy, what a beltingly emotive tune.
Thanks Pater: see you later.

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