I had one of those stories I had to write down wake me up at 3:50 am this morning and when I arrived at the ‘desk’, I literally had to pick Elton LT and move him off my spot so I could sit down. He and ‘Mom’ had been on the couch since just after midnight, and had shared all the room they could take, leaving little for me…
I guess that symbolizes the fact that my Birthday was yesterday, thus being ‘special’ is yesterdays news…
And now, the playlist song that has motivated me.
Woodstock, by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
It is possible at this point that most people would scratch their head and wonder, “… you have this as a Workout Motivation song??…”
I will try to explain why…
When I was growing up, my Dad played Lead Guitar in a band called The Country Boys. Dad was not interested in Rock n Roll.
One night after he had placed an old radio in our room and I had found KSEL on the AM dial.
KSEK played Top 40 POP Hits, and my Big Brother and I were getting ‘jiggie’ with it as Dad passed by…
The look on his face removed our ‘jiggie’ right out of our souls.
He then explained he didn’t ‘care’ if we listened to THAT kind of music, however, we were to never listen to it in public, and we were certainly to never ‘dance’ like that in public, nor in the bedroom next to the old radio.
Dad also told us sometime later, that he didn’t care if his boys drank beer, and smoked cigarettes. Just do not let him see you do either.
That stuck with me for the entire time Dad was alive, which was until October 1982. He was a young 53 years old when he died of colon cancer… a Chronic American Death Diet Choice.
To that day, he never saw me smoke a cigarette, nor take a drink of beer.
But Rock and Roll … well …
When I was becoming a bit more comfortable on the drums,playing with The Country Boys Band, we were playing a good number of Dances between the Elks Lodge, Pollard Friendly Ford Christmas/New Years Eve Parties, and others.
Johnny Be Good, Don’t Worry About Me, and a few other tunes were really ‘cranked up’ by the Band, and the Ladies really seemed to enjoy … getting ‘jiggie’ with it, and Raymond the Bass Player and I enjoyed watching that…
Sometimes we would do something like Johnny Be Good three or four times throughout the dance, by request. (Of course, all request were made with an offering in the tip jar, or ‘kittie’ as many called it …)
So, I guess I had a mixed relationship with Rock and Roll.
On the one hand it was ‘taboo’, and then it was requested and repeated at a Dance… with Dad at Lead Guitar.
Why little things like that are still with me these years later I may never know.
During High School, there was the unusual occurrence of the Student Lounge at Frenship High. I was lucky to have the Progressive Administrators give the ‘good’ students the earned privilege of having a class period a day, to go to the Student Lounge, play pool, ping pong, pin ball, and later the early video games as reward for being obedient and good students. (It is also possible that having the Daughter and Son of the High School Principle there at that time too….?) There was a juke box too, and someone found the volume control.
I can promise you there were NO COUNTRY & WESTERN songs played.
The Vietnam War, Protest/Riots, Hippies, Civil Rights, and the such were big News items at the time. I took the side of old school conservative ‘grits’, shit kicker, ‘MERICA good ol’ boys… which you could tell because my hair was cut like everyone’s Dad and GrandPaw, and the hippies all had long hair and didn’t wear cowboy boots like us ‘good guys’.
There was a huge movement going on, rejecting the ‘status quo’, tradition, and I stood on the sidelines. At least outwardly.
I couldn’t disappoint Dad, ya know?
Lets skip from the late 60’s and go to 1994.
There was this young lady who was in her early 20’s who loaned me a MUSIC CD of ‘Bostons Greatest Hits’
I put that CD on Cassette Tape, and wore it out.
Although the earliest song on that CD was released in 1976, it represented an entire generation of the music I grew up with, but ignored in the 60’s and 70’s.
There are volumes that need to be written about that time, the music, and mankind.
After twenty years of not having a set of drums, I bought a set of electronic Yamaha drums, and decided I would play the music of Bostons Greatest Hits.
Thank God I could turn the drums, and the music through the headphones, and everyone else in the house could not hear the music, nor the drumming.
I discovered that a large part of the music of Boston carries a positive note, and lyric.
Not like the protest music of much of the 60’s. But not all of the music of the 60’s was protest, there was the music of hope, and peace.
It just seems those ‘caught in the devils bargain’ did not agree with an anti-establishment rejection of the massive death bombers pouring destruction by the tons, this funding industries that needed a ‘war’ and ‘cannon fodder’ to fulfill a purpose, and make money…even IF the anti-establishment hippies were chanting ‘peace’ and ‘love’.
My ‘return’ to the music of my youth is made even more eventful by the fact that I ‘left’ all music behind for almost 20 years (except a very narrow selection of ‘Church’ Music)
I felt like a hippie protesting the WAR MACHINE and Gooberment. (No, I did not misspell that last word.. it symbolizes my current opinion of ALL the Government which ‘we’ are under… a bunch of goobers…)
I guess I might disappoint my Dad if he were here today to hear these confessions.
I actually thought this song was titled ‘Stardust’. I guess it has always been ‘Woodstock’ …
“…We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden…”
The ‘story teller’ speaks in the first verse of coming upon a ‘child of God’, and then asks the question , ‘where are you going?’ and the story unfolds.
Joni Mitchell wrote this song after Woodstock was over, and she never made it to the event. But it was said that she wrote these lyrics with a better perspective than those who were there in person. Probably because she was not stoned on drugs ….
When Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young did their version they did change a few of the lyrics around, and certainly presented it with a different feeling than Joni.
Watch a video of the song with Joni singing and then one with CSN&Y.
Both are wonderful.
It is just that the version by CSN&Y is better suited for my workout playlist.
The storyteller says…..
“…Then can I walk beside you (speaking to the child of God)
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who I am
But you know life is for learning…
We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden…”
The acclaimed ‘half a million strong’ made the Festival one of the largest ‘cities’ in the State even if for just a few hours.
With all, that Woodstock was in truth, and in the yarns spun since, there will certainly never be another. Attempts have been made, but you just can’t reproduce some things, and some times.
The ‘time of man’ that is exemplified by the music of the 60’s was and is a once in history manifestation of something special.
I was a part of that time, even if I wore the ‘shit-kicker’ Cowboy Boots that never saw a barnyard, no, not even a pig pen.
I am a old hippie.
I wish I could have been at Woodstock.
I retrospect I protest “… the bomber death planes Riding shotgun in the sky…”.
I want to get back to the ‘Garden’.
While I may be ‘Stardust’, and truly, ‘billion year old carbon’ …
I refuse to conform, and be obedient to the Masters and Machines that seem the feel ‘they’ know what I need, what I want, and what I NEED.
I lift a 63 year old finger to salute ‘you’ and ‘your Progressive Self Righteousness’ …
‘That’ is what the song Woodstock means to me.
It also means this… Do not tell me to count calories, Do not tell me to measure protein, and do not tell me to FEAR CARBS.
Every time ‘you’ or ‘they’ do, I give that 63 year old hand replying as shown above…
Don’t tell me ….