Who Am I
Hi my name is Mark and I am a self professed music fanatic. I am 52 years old and find myself at a crossroads in this journey called life. Several months back my long held career path received a not so subtle change in direction, directly to the realm of unemployment…Ugh. I began to update my CV and perform endless searches for that one job which would be a good fit for myself. I was not to happy about the prospects and the thought of working for someone else creating value and really not managing my own destiny became a burden.
What I soon realised is that I had actually received a gift, time for re-invention, to try something new, to build something which I enjoy and hopefully be able to share with other like minded individuals. So here is the infant steps to my new career, one which has been a passion of mine since before I have a memory to recall.
Music – Music Is Best
Some of my fondest memories revolve around my discovery of and exploration of music. I grew up in London Ontario, Canada and by fortune of proximity was able to receive signals from some great radio stations. Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo were all cities where I could receive reception. I would often sit in front of the stereo and slowly move the tuner across bandwidths until something would catch my ear. Of course being from Canada I must give a nod to CBC radio, Canada’s public broadcaster from coast to coast. Almost always at bedtime I would have my clock radio on low (so my parents couldn’t hear) listening to everything from Classical to Rock.
Where the responsibility would reside for my passion I do have an inkling. My Mother played the piano and we had a Kimball in our home. My Father was a vocal soloist with our church, he had a beautiful tenor voice and sang with the choir for over 50 years. My sister took piano lessons and was very good, myself I wanted to play guitar but mom and dad said I would have to learn piano first. I was stubborn and refused to learn, the piano teacher said they were wasting their money on lessons for me and that was the end of that.
Not learning an instrument in no way diminished my appreciation for music and some of my favourite genres would be Rock, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Old Country and classical. I never really appreciated pop music or garden variety AM music.
Bach – I remember listening to this (actually my dad was listening), he had headphones on and I lay on his chest and I could hear the music. The electronic sounds of the early Moog performing Baroque masterworks resonated with me. To this day I adore Bach and have an interest in electronic music.
Alice Cooper – I saw this in a record store in 1971, now I know what your thinking age 6 and Alice Cooper hmmm. Anyhow I begged, pleaded and begged some more and this album in lovely vinyl was a gift under the tree that Christmas. I still have that album (the exact one) in my collection today. I absolutely adored this album and quickly became a fan and added to my collection with Love it to Death and Easy Action.
There was a wonderful Jazz broadcast on CBC in the evenings; while going to sleep I was introduced to many great artists and musicians.
The three pictured here figured prominently in what would be my developing musical tastes. Dave Brubeck in particular the “Blue Rondo A la Turk” I remember feeling joy when listening to this piece. Joe Pass a master at his craft, I loved the tone and shape of his playing the fluidity and a seemingly simple yet complex style.
Miles Davis, for this man I personally put him on a level with J.S. Bach. The sheer volume of work with cutting edge improvisation, this man did not play genres or styles he created them. American music, in my opinion owes a great deal of gratitude and respect to this genius.
As a group, as solo musicians their contributions to music and popular culture are enormous. For me personally, I like Beatles ’65, Rubber Soul and Revolver.
As solo artists, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Paul McCartney’s Band on The Run and John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band.
I listened to Funk, mostly from radio stations out of Detroit these two bands will always generate good feelings in me. The power of the music with the strong bass lines is a constant joy. I managed to get one Funk album for Christmas one year, it was a K-tel compilation, unfortunately I do not have this in my collection still.
Chicago is another band which had a lasting effect on me, Live at Carnegie Hall (pictured here) I acquired in 1974/5 from a second hand record store. I knew I liked the band from radio play, they were quite popular. Yet this album sealed the deal for me, being a live set from 1971 the production was superb and I really enjoyed how well they played together. The joy and excitement seemed to jump to life. I enjoyed this band right up to Chicago XI and the tragic loss of Terry Kath, a very under-rated guitar player.
Queen is a band who I was introduced to by my older sister, she had purchased the album Sheer Heart Attack in 1975 I believe. This was unusual as she was a devoted “45” fan. I remember listening to this and from the onset I was hooked. There was no band which sounded anything like Queen, they were likely my favourite band from the mid seventies to the beginning of 1980.
Tweens and Teens
Towards the end of the seventies much was changing in the music industry, for me it opened up a whole new world which I could explore. This happened not just because Punk, New and No Wave were happening, the established bands had to adapt or cease to be. Heavy Metal was huge where I grew up and although I enjoy metal it was not my go to, interestingly enough for the past 10 or so years I have developed a taste for Death Metal. I digress, At around the same time in 1978 I was exposed to two bands who could not have been more opposite. The Sex Pistols and Yes.
The Sex Pistols were the perfect rock outfit to put a bullet straight through the heart of many of the bands I enjoyed, I loved it. Their story is way to short as a band but they did start a revolution along with The Ramones and many lesser known punks.
Yes had been around for a while but I never really paid much attention other than Roundabout being played at the roller rink during the men’s skate. I was loaned this triple disc live album from their 1972 world tour and I could not stop listening to it. I began to collect their albums and would listen to them over and over. The musicianship was top notch, and like Queen they were unlike anything else I had heard. It became a bit of a spiritual thing with the positivity in their music resonating with the name of the band, I felt it in my soul.
There were many, many more artists and influences for me yet I think what I represented here is the major ones which shaped likes and dislikes. As I progress with vinylmusicplus.com I will revisit some gems from my past as well as further delve into the genres represented.
I continued to explore my musical tastes across genres and mediums and personally I find the 33 and a third vinyl disc best for overall experience.
Moving forward I plan to offer reviews (as I hear it) being a lay man with a passion for music for new releases in the genres I enjoy. I hope you will enjoy the reviews as well and participate in the comments section. I hope to create a community of music enthusiasts.
Cheers and happy listening