November 18, 2011

Friday Floyd Fix

My dad and I loved to expose one another to new music.  There was a small window of opportunity between when I was old enough to appreciate good music and his death when I was 15, but we filled those few years with lots of time in the dark room, in his garage workshop and his grown up-toy-filled living room, always with music in the background - and foreground..  I remember he had a reel to reel tape player and he would make (giant) mix tapes for me.  Hours of music that he loved.  I would sit in his living room late at night, giant headphones on, watching those reels spin and listening to some great music.  Eagles Live (the 1980 album) was in heavy rotation one summer.  I loved listening to Simon & Garfunkel through the headphones.  It was rarely the radio cuts, my dad wanted me to hear the 'B' sides, the deep tracks.

I enjoy Pink Floyd's music.  These days I have a better appreciation for the notes and lyrics and appreciate listening and singing along with the more mainstream stuff.  There was many a day when Pink Floyd equated to tripping music, and I am sure that had something to do with my exposure to the album 'Ummagumma'.

'Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving Together With A Pict' probably wins some award for longest song title.  Certainly it was one of the most provocative for its time.  It is less a song and more of a sound effects feature.  I didn't know until I was an adult, that the effects were all sounds made by Roger Waters.

Sometime shortly after discovering this Pink Floyd album, I was shipped off to Florida, New York to visit my father for a few weeks in the summer.  I took the cassette with me.  On our way home from the airport, dad needed to stop at the grocery store to pick something up.  I waited in the car, popped in the tape cued to the beginning of SSOSFAGTIACAGWAP and raised the volume.  I knew that there was enough lead time to get us down the street before the real noise started. 

Sure enough, dad got in, cranked the car and had just turned out onto the main road as the first sound effects started.  He checked to see if his windows were down and looked all around for the offending insects and animals making all that racket.

I don't remember exactly how the tape was revealed, but it probably had something to do with me laughing and giving away my part on the mystery.  My dad thought the song title and the sound was the strangest thing he had ever heard.  I pointed out that he had been listening to Culture Club when he picked me up at the airport.  'Yeah', he said, 'that Boy George is queer as a three dollar bill, but he sure can sing'.

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