Tuesday, April 19, 2016

memory rock

> >  "Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories.  And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more  memories we have of it."
-- Stevie Wonder, music artist

> >  "The poetry of a people comes from the deep recesses of the unconscious, the irrational and the collective body of our ancestral memories."
-- Margaret Walker, poet and writer

I wonder sometimes, & I really cannot figure out where and when I've heard some music -- I feel like, "Why is that in my head?  How did it get in there?"  Brain-and-memory inventory...

Some songs I find myself inexplicably familiar with, I trace it back to TV commercials where they'd want to sell you a collection of hits by different artists, and they'd play just a line or two, each, of a whole bunch of songs.  I think I got a kind of quick-dip-in to a variety of music that way....

In Greil Marcus's book Mystery Train he quotes The Band's Robbie Robertson on the subject of the American South:  "It's the only place in the country I've ever been where you can actually drive down the highway at night, and if you listen, you hear music...I don't know if it's coming from the people or if it's coming from the air.  It lives, and it's rooted there."

Is this how some of the music of Merle Haggard -- Bob Dylan -- the Grateful Dead -- and others gets into our heads, is it just out there in the air...?  Is it  magic?  A mystical kind of connection?  Even when we're not in the South, even when we're in the North, does music mysteriously enwrap our minds and memories?

That Robbie Robertson quote is good and mysterious.


...And we keep roarin' down the fast lane
Like two young men feelin' no pain...

...When they're runnin' down my country, hoss,
They're walkin' on the fightin' side of me...

...All the Federales say, they could've had him any day,
They only let him slip away, out of kindness I suppose...

...And I've got swinging doors, a jukebox, and a barstool
And my new home has got a flashing neon sign
Stop by and see me anytime you want to...


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