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January 15, 2009

Mists Of Time

This posting isn't going to be about music. Well, it is, but in a very cosmic 'music is life' kind of way.

Before I get into it, I want to say that the Derek Trucks Band's "Already Free" is growing on me. I think what threw me slightly at first is that it's actually 'an album'. It has a flow to it. 'Side A' is very upbeat and groovy then 'Side B' cools things off and becomes more relaxed and soothing. I guess what I'm trying to say saying is that I'm starting to 'get it'.

And, it's Rockschool again tonight. Should be an interesting 2 hours as everyone will have had a chance to look through the course guides and listen to the accompanying CD. Methinks a few folk are going to be voicing concerns that they've set their sights too high!

I think I've mentioned before that from a musical standpoint I often feel like I was born in the wrong time and on the wrong continent. From a young age I've had an affinity for what many people would consider 'Southern' (USA) music from the 60's & 70's. I used to scour second-hand record stores to find LPs by the Allman Brothers, Skynyrd, Cowboy, Poco, even Molly Hatchet, the Outlaws and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils... Little Feat... Derek & the Dominos, early Boz Skaggs with Duane Allman guesting. You're getting the picture. The music was blues based (sometimes 'country blues') on electric guitar, turned up loud and proud. I used to select unknown artists based on their pedigree, for example by which record company they were signed to. Anything on the Capricorn label was coming home with me, no matter what the cost.

As the supply of back-catalogue LPs petered out and CDs became the norm I reluctantly allowed some more 'modern' artists into my collection. Sonny Landreth... some Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Bonamassa, Dave Matthews. Nothing ever really touched the majesty of my prized 'early' recordings, but you take what you can get, eh? Of course, there were bands that touched me that were outside my core interest. Bands with something to say or a certain sensibility. Placebo would be a good example. You Am I, if you want to veer towards the grungier side of the street.

Where am I going with this? I guess I'm just in a reflective mood right now, brought on by thoughts of our upcoming pilgrimage to Mardi Gras 2009. When we announced to our stateside friends that we were headed to Nawlins we were somewhat taken-aback by how many of them responded to say that they were going to try and make it, too. Many of them made the trip to Louisiana for our wedding, right after Mardi Gras 2005. Even Tim's ex, Chris has said that he's already booked a room and is shopping for flights down from Missouri.

There's a tie-in here that I've been working towards. My first 'experience' of Mardi Gras was after Tim and I had been forced to move to the US in 2002. Tim's UK visa had expired, so if we wanted to stay together we had no choice but to leave the country. I managed to get a temporary US work visa through my company so we jumped ship and headed for Texas. Based in Houston, New Orleans was within striking distance and Tim, a seasoned Mardi Gras veteran, suggested we go. I didn't have a clue what to expect so he pulled out some old 'home movies' of him and Chris there in 1999, along with some of their friends (a couple of whom have said they're coming down this year, too). I remember watching the videos and not really getting it... all the bead tossing, the parades... the boobie showing... it all seemed very un-British to me.

The time came for us to head over to New Orleans, making the crossing from Texas to Louisiana in our shiny new silver Corvette. There I was, a boy born and raised in South London, heading due East on the I-10, cutting a path across the deep South, into unknown territory.

Wait a minute. This was me, Ken, tearing up the blacktop with Sonny Landreth's "South of I-10" slipping and sliding out of the car stereo, driving right down the I-10 itself. Suddenly pieces of the jigsaw of my life started falling into place. Wherever I felt I should have been growing up, there I was, right then and there.

Since then I've crossed the Mason-Dixie line (once or twice!). I've lived in the South, amongst Southerners. I've learned their ways and listened to them play. Some folk even say I picked up something of an accent along the way. Hell, I've even drag-raced with other redneck 'Vette owners, leaving a freakin' Allman Brothers concert.

I think in many ways I finally got comfortable with myself, during that first trip to New Orleans. I figured out what 'it' was all about and why I love the music I do... For that, for all the good times, for all the good friends, I have one person to thank, my husband, Tim.


Istvanski said...

Having said that, they say you can take the boy out of south London...

Kenski said...

True, true... It's a standing joke with me, though, that I meet people and they always think I'm an ex-pat living in London for some reason. Nobody believes me I was born and bred here :-(

Furtheron said...

You won't get me boobie showing... I'm British... :-)

Regarding roots and all that... traced my family tree back to 1840 something. Same bloody parish about a mile from where I was born and about 1.25 miles from where I live now. Do you think there is a gene that dictates wanderlust or not?

Kenski said...

Oh, at Mardi Gras the girls have it so easy. A flash of boobies and they're showered with beads. For us boys it's much harder... more difficult to impress.

The travel bug can be a real challenge sometime. There are now quite a few places that I couldn't bear to be too far from... and they're spread out across the globe, leading to angst-a-go-go when trying to decide where to live, vacation etc.

Gee, I guess I just love too much :-)