River of music. Music runs through my life like a river. It's there in some of my earliest memories, sitting beside my mother on the piano bench entranced, begging her to play my favorites. My dad played for me too, on his hi fi: the classical music he loved and I grew to love. About that time I started listening to rock and roll on the radio, watching American Bandstand on TV, and singing in the children's choir at the First Methodist Church. I had wide ranging tastes in music; still do. My first LP was The Latin Sound of Henry Mancini. Interesting choice for a twelve-year-old. In Asheville I started playing instruments. First a few piano lessons I sure wish I'd stuck with. I did better with the saxophone. By ninth grade I had good solid skills. I also got to go to the symphony regularly and even a few operas, meanwhile combing my hair down over my forehead in imitation of The Beatles I listened to so avidly. In Kenya I listened to lots more Beatles (the coming of Sgt. Pepper was a major event) plus The Stones, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Dave Dee et al. (still love those whip cracks) and The Who, along with most of the rest of the English Beat. And Françoise Hardy. My muse introduced me to her, and I fell in love. My second LP was one of hers, with this song on it, probably my first waltz. Tender yet wry, very French. Françoise is a fine storyteller.
But more than anything else, music in Kenya was jamming the blues with my Once Upon a Tryp buddies, and the fine Kenya bangi that came wreathed in. Cannabis lived up to its rep: it was mind expanding. It kicked my imagination into overdrive, and that is not a good thing. It wasn't long before I was able to feel the psychological harm it was doing. The only way to heal that damage was to go all the way through it and come out the other side. That wouldn't happen for another fifty years. On the plus side, the boys in the band broadened my musical tastes, giving me blues and early psychedelic rock.
The seventies. This section of my musical past actually begins in the summer of 1968 When I repatriated with my mom. I returned from Kenya keen to immerse myself in new music. Those were early days of progressive rock, and I was an avid fan in waiting. Even the latest hits took months to get to Kenya from Britain and Europe in those far off days. Most new music from the States never made it at all. The long haired hippie freaks I hung out with at Mel High fixed me right up, very sweetly at times.
Becoming a dance DJ. Starting up Waltz etcetera changed my relationship with music profoundly. My interest in classical music had waned already. That was not a good sign. It was the first hint of the anhedonia I fell into during my marriage. When I fixated on dance music my decades-long love of classical music got eclipsed. It took a pandemic to bring that love back out of the shadow. I bought a boom box and we pooled our CDs and cassette tapes that had danceable waltzes. It was a motley little collection. The limitations of that minute library of tunes and the awkwardness of playing songs from CDs and cassettes on a boom box sent me on a journey that continues to this day. Waltz etcetera debuted in 1999, the same year as Napster, and sometime late that year I made my way there.