Music has always been a major influence in my life, even as a child.
When I was not much older than 6 or 7 years old, I used to listen to the Motown Sound. My sister’s husband was a deejay, on the most popular black AM radio station in New Orleans, WYLD, and he’d bring free copies of virtually every 45 that was released. Since the Motown Sound was most popular, we ended up having nearly every song released.
Along with my brothers and sisters, we would pantomime performances of the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the Supremes to name a few. I still remember the words to songs that were released when I was a young child.
Back then, my sister Annette, and my brother Ulysses had the strangest music tastes, considering that they were fairly young and products of the ghetto. My sister would have days where she would play Johnny Mathis albums it seems for the whole day. Her go-to song was Chances Are.
My brother was in love with Nancy Wilson. He would do pretty much the same, often playing Guess Who I Saw Today. Music was so integral in our ghetto lives that we embraced everyone’s choices, and even me, at a very young age, would eventually learn to appreciate Johnny Mathis and Nancy Wilson.
My family, as most black families did back then, had two very elegant phonograph consoles, build with craftmanship into very nice solid wood cabinets that looked like an elegant piece of furniture. It served as the foundation of our modest entertainment endeavors. When the top was closed, and my mother placed a lace dolly and a vase of plastic flowers on top, and polish it with that weird-smelling furniture oil. One would never know that it was a record player until it was opened, and guest would say, ‘Oh I didn’t realize that was a record player.’ For a moment, we would feel white-privileged. It was a big bulky piece of furniture that only housed two speakers, a turntable, and storage area for 45s and LPs, but it was nearly the center of our lives back then.
In addition, either I or my sisters would get a portable record player for Christmas. …Sort of the Easy Bake Over of record players, allowing us to listen to music in our rooms upstairs. It did not have a big sound because the speakers were transistor-radio-sized, but we enjoyed listening to the latest music just the same. Upstairs we would sing, dance and listen in private, well almost.
Music is also a significant aspect of New Orleans’ culture. It’s about ‘what-n-what’ with our food. New Orleanians hold deep pride in both. We have our own style of music, and that tradition continues today with new styles like New Orleans bounce music. I’m not that crazy about New Orleans bounce music. But our most popular music back then was New Orleans blues, soul, jazz, Mardi Gras, and second line music. Continue reading “Not Much Of A Drinker But I’m Enamored For Hours In This One Bar – The Buddha Bar’s Zen Chill Music”