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Thursday, January 05, 2006

New Year's Blues (It's About Music!)

This blog message is about music. Well, sort of.

My passion for an iPod to electronically store and play music on was realized this Christmas when I purchased a "let's do it for me" gift.

There's hundreds of CDs from my growing music collection stored in my computer's hard drive. Rather than loose the tunes when my computer inevitably crashes (Hughhhg!!!), I decided owning an iPod was like insurance protection to preserve a valuable music collection. What I didn't realize is how easily the iPod makes music selections for me.

Talk about being organized! The iPod creates files in various lists by musical artist, individual album names and genre. One particular genre is "Blues". Wow! It's better than the library's decimal system.

I realize I own tunes called "Blues". My Blues collection includes songs by Brook Benton, Lena Horne, Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller, to name a few. Gosh, honey....I didn't even know Chuck Berry was a Blues singer? Wasn't Berry about "rock n' roll"? Whatever...I don't argue with the iPod.

Now, if I click "Blues" in my iPod files, the tiny chip containing nearly 1,000 plus songs will play only those with the "Blues" genre. It's amazing.

Brook Benton's singing reminds me "Endlessly" of Dundalk High School's (in Baltimore) dances. Benton's voice was silenced in 1988 with his untimely death. Checking the Chuck Berry webpage, I learned today (January 2) is the "twist" singer's 79th birthday. "Happy Birthday Chuck Berry!". Yes, I learned how to twist with Chuck because he was a magnificent dance motivator. I wonder if Chuck Berry has Any Particular Place to Go on his birthday? Maybe he's Riding Along in his Automobile, someplace outside of Topsham, Maine, where he's warm with no snow in the weather forecast.

Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's Wonderful World ended in 1971, when the delightful jazz musician died. It's hard to believe he's really dead because his music remains so popular. Louis Armstrong was also a New Orleans Creole Jazz musician, too. He's pictured on one web page with "King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band", "one of the best and most important bands in early Jazz. The Creole Jazz Band was made up of the cream of New Orleans Hot Jazz musicians", says the website. Louis Armstrong's web page is a walk through history: http://www.redhotjazz.com/louie.html.

Fats Waller died in 1943, long before I was Misbehavin', but he was a musical singing piano genius for his pre-rock n' roll era. I'm glad Waller's music is in my iPod's "Blues" category - I wouldn't normally look for Waller's music, but one of his songs fortunately wound up in an anthology copied into my iPod - he plays and sings "Swinging' Them Jingle Bells" - it's a hoot to listen to!. He sings, "Lookee there, it's jingling all the way...yeah!" Waller died before there were even 45 rpm records with a big whole in the middle, but his talent lives forever in my iPod's Blues category.

"As Long as I Live", jazz singer Lena Horne will be one of my idols for her beauty, grace and ability to create mood with her voice. Lena is still gorgeous at 80-some years old. It would be more than "Just One of Those Things" if I could be as beautiful as Lena when I'm her youthful age.

New Year's Blues are loaded with memories created by talented performers. They are now securely copied into one very tiny computer chip inside an iPod so thin it fits into a slim wallet.
Listening to the Blues isn't always easy. Memories these musicians and singers of the past conjure up are not necessarily nostalgic - sometimes even sad. Yet, Blues singers have the ability to take the sentimentality out of songs and leave us with the timeliness of their voices.
Playing New Year's Blues music is better than singing Auld Lang Syne for creating a sense of what's past and what's coming next. Just like Waller said, "All God's Children Got Wings", and we'll hopefully use them someday.

Blues from the past will actually cheer you up, especially if you happen to deal with "New Year's Blues" of the mood variety. Just listen to Johnny Otis singing "Happy New Year, Baby. Happy New Year to You". Otis sings, "Well, I made a resolution to keep the whole year through". Otis claims he's "..gonna give up chasin' women and drinkin' whiskey too!" See, you're smiling.

So, chase nasty New Year's Blues away with happy thoughts. Recall fond memories. Perhaps you can think about immortal singing voices from those talented Blues singers, and give yourself a smile as big as Satchmo's.

We all have personal gifts to leave behind, like the Blues singers of yesterday. Let's make a New Year's Resolution to do it.

Just like Johnny Otis, I'm making a New Year's Resolution of my own. My resolution is to enjoy what's ahead. Yup. "Believe It, Beloved", says Waller.

May your New Year's Blues include hopes for a Wonderful, Wonderful (and
peaceful) World.

Happy New Year 2006!

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