Some of the most memorable period of my childhood were various trips. And what I remember most about those trips was not the places we visited, or the episodes themselves, but the music that we listened to in the car. Maybe this is not surprising – I don’t have a very visual memory and find it difficult to ‘visualise’. Actually I wasn’t aware of this until discussions with my friend Lila about her inability to visualise where I discovered that when people talked about visualising something they actually could ‘see’ the thing in their head. I don’t, I kind of experience a feeling of the fundamental nature of the thing if that makes any sense.
Anyway, travelling music, on tape. So my first memory of the travelling music was from when Mum and I were travelling in Australia after my father Jonny’s death in Melbourne – I was just five I think. Neil Diamond – Tap Root Manuscript. This would later be followed up by Jonathon Livingston Seagull which I remember careering around the living room at Webb St dancing to. I picked up the re-mastered 40th Anniversary edition of Hot August Night at the mall last Friday and the emotional response was so strong I’d bought JLS off iTunes by Sunday morning.
Dad (David) had a couple of great tapes that we’d have in the car. One was half Bette Midler and half Dori Previn. Lu got me the Dori Previn CD for Christmas a couple of years ago and I picked up a five-pack of Bette including the eponymous (I’ve always wanted a reason to write that word) CD at the Warehouse a few weeks ago. I always thought Suribaya Jonny was about my father – no idea why, and her Skylark was one I’d been searching for for a while.
Not last on my list was A Beautiful Thing by Cleo Laine – that was another of Mum’s. Some gorgeous songs on it but I’ve never seen it on CD anywhere locally but its on Amazon so maybe I’ll order that.
I don’t really have a point here, except maybe that we sometimes forget how powerful the non-visual senses are in triggering memory and emotion. I’m really enjoying making contact again with these old recordings and that’s just fine. If you’ve got any old favourites keep an eye out for the five-packs, I think that they’re called “Original Recording” or something like that. Way better than any “best of”.