I was thinking about the fun Mom and I had yesterday, and I realized something that I didn’t catch last night. In the car, on the way to Freeport and on the way home, as we were singing with John Raitt and Janis Paige, I was singing out loud, in front of my mom, the choir director of my teens and twenties, without a single feeling of self-consciousness, and with no worry whatsoever about the quality of my voice. This is huge!
Let me start by telling you about my singing life. From the time I was a kid, music was an inseparable part of the fabric that made up my family. I have talked about musicals; other musical influences included a wonderful Turkish rock band at the C̜es̜me Campground, (the one with the fig tree.) They picked our brains for lyrics to American rock songs. Until I was 14, I participated in Youth Choir at the churches we attended that offered it.
When I was fourteen, I joined the adult choir at church, and within a few years Mom was the choir director. I already had a tenor voice by then — I might have been alto, but I never tried to develop my voice beyond that tenor range. Choir under Mom’s direction was a blast, as she is talented, chose very good music, and was loved dearly by every member of the choir. I continued there until I entered college. At age 22, I traveled to Colorado with a musician friend of mine, who taught me the pedal steel guitar, and depended on me, somewhat, for lyrics and chords he just couldn’t hear.
Next followed 5 years of no singing at all, except in my car, where the radio was always blasting. This was the time of Springsteen’s Born in the USA, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Pack Up the Plantation, and Robert Palmer’s Riptide, and I sang at the top of my voice whenever I could get away with it. But, by the end of the 1980s, I almost completely lost interest in popular music. This is when I found the Kinks Come Dancing with the Kinks – Greatest Hits from 1977-1986, every word of which I knew, and again sang at the top of my lungs. Come Dancin’, from that album, became a favorite of mine to which I still listen.
And then my interest in music waned, almost completely. I must have, but I don’t remember singing out loud since 1992. My ex, J., had very odd tastes in music, and my less heavy, less lugubrious music was not welcome in our house.
In fact, I don’t remember singing out loud, without reservations, from then until yesterday. I must have, a few times, but when Mom and I were singing to The Pajama Game, I felt like I hadn’t sung in years; it was so much fun to open up and let it out again. A real blast, and music will not get away from me again!