The Playlist

It was Jonah’s playlist. It was full of bouncy tunes perfect for driving. It should make her happy that it was still available on Spotify and she could play it whenever she wanted. She’d get in the car, turn on the music and sob. There was no driving to Jonah’s playlist.

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7 Minutes

She gave us the structure, she told us the form, we listened to Bessie Smith as examples, we played a few 12 bar run-throughs in different keys. Then she gave us 7 minutes to write our own blues song. And we did it. Mine was kind of stupid, but it was worthy of 7 minutes of work. First song I ever wrote. Yea, me!

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Bubblegum

Bubblegum Alley

As soon as the music started, I tapped my foot happily to the beat. “Bah,” he said. “Mere bubblegum pop. Turn on something worth hearing.”

“But I like this,” I said. “It’s happy.”

“It’s simplistic drivel. I won’t allow it in my head.”

I turned it off, but I always remember this as the moment I stopped respecting my dad.

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Autograph

She told a story about a flirty, teasing autograph she received from the author of a book. It brought back memories of my favorite autograph. It was from a singer at a jazz concert. She signed her CD cover with “You were great last night.” I thought that was . . .

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The Dance

The mambo is popular in my exercise class, but the dance I learned early and used all my life for every kind of music imaginable is the two step. Not the country-western two step they do in Texas dance halls. The two step that is two steps one way and one step back. It works for swing, rock, even techno dancing. You know that old saw about how the world would be a happy place if every child was given a ukulele at birth? Well, I add that every child should be taught to do the two step as soon as they are steady on their feet.

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Favorite

Emily Saliers, half of the Indigo Girls, is talking on NPR right now about her first solo album. It got me started thinking about favorite bands over the years. I loved Fleetwood Mac and Gloria Estefan and Dianne Schuur. I just loved women’s voices of all kinds.

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One Thing

“Everything’s wrong and nothin’ ain’t right,” is a line from an old song about singing the blues. I know people who live that line, live that life. I wish they’d find one thing to be happy about – one thing that sustains over time. No a new bauble, but a life-affirming thing that’s right about life. That’s my wish.

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Get Outta Town

She sent me an email. She wanted to go to a uke festival on a weekend in May. It wasn’t far away, but it was a way to get outta town. That sounded great. I mean, we don’t really need to travel to a uke fest, we have one of our own. But this one was SOMEWHERE ELSE.

I sent back an answer, “Let’s do it!”

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Alto

Using the word alto in Scrabble the other day led to an interesting conversation with the grandkid. In English, alto is a middle range voice or instrument. In Spanish it means high (or tall) or stop. In French it refers only to a singing voice. The Latin altus meant both high and deep. This is what happens when your grandkid knows all the best web sites for translating words.

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I Coulda Been

I coulda been one of those people whose vinyl record collection was still an everyday part of their lives. I coulda kept my turntable and my stereo components. I shoulda. Now I have an iPod that cuts off the end of songs and a batch of cassettes that need to go wherever all that old vinyl went. I can’t even insert a CD into my computer anymore to put new songs into iTunes. I woulda loved having all that old vinyl around.

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