Tag Archives: music

Four Strong Winds

Ian_and_Sylvia_1968 publicity photo-wikicommonsI’ve been thinking about Ian Tyson lately. With the recent death of Leonard Cohen, the songs and the songwriters of Canada – and an era – have been heard a lot.

One song that often sneaks into my head is Four Strong Winds, the most evocative, and most Canadian of songs. Written by Ian Tyson, recorded by Ian & Sylvia in 1963, then by almost everybody else.

Four strong winds that blow lonely
Seven seas that run high

Could be any part of Canada. West, east, south or north – strong winds blow; seas, lakes, rivers run high. But it’s Alberta in the song. And, for many people for many years, it’s been Alberta in the reality. Going out west for work. Ranch work. Before oil.

Ian Tyson with_2011_Charles_M._Russell_Heritage_Award-wikicommons-Lee-Gunderson
Ian Tyson, at home, with 2011 Charles M. Russell Heritage Award

It is the reality for Mr. Tyson. He’s owned a working ranch in Alberta for decades. And he’s kept writing and singing songs. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he didn’t settle in the States. With many of them, he spent time in California and New York in the 1960s and 1970s. Then he came home.

Born in British Columbia, he worked the rodeos. Then the music, and his time with Sylvia (Fricker) Tyson. The years of his Four Strong Winds and Someday Soon and her You Were On My Mind. Many more too but, for those three songs alone, they deserve to be canonized.TCH 1 west road sign in Alberta photo O Ogglesby

Think I’ll go out to Alberta…

Four Strong Winds is about Canada. The distances that make leaving one part of the country for another a big deal. Winters that make you think twice. “And those winds sure can blow cold way out there.” In the song, it’s Alberta’s winds but it could be almost anywhere, in winter.

Ian-Tyson_-Hat-boots-rope-photo-Don-Kennedy-Cdn-Country-music-hall-of-fame.jpg
Ian Tyson display at Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

There still are ranches in Alberta, there is still a beef industry. There are cowboys, but fewer of them. It is all still part of the mythology of place. But oil took over the reality. The westward drift of labour continued, in search of oil work. The lure of the big bucks. Then, as the economy elsewhere faltered, it was simply the lure of a job – any job. But Stetsons and roper boots come out, at least during the Stampede when everybody’s a cowboy.western heritage statue-2006 Calgary airport photo O Ogglesby

The song is about more too. It’s about the bittersweetness of leaving the familiar for somewhere new. Leaving the beloved, hoping that time and distance can be bridged. Knowing that it can’t, and maybe that’s a good thing. “Our good times are all gone, and I’m bound for moving on.”

So there’s the story of Canada, and the human heart – in two verses and a chorus. Thank you, Ian Tyson.

For the story of the woman he would send the fare, see MacLean’s from 2012. And at American Songwriter, Rick Moore discusses the lyrics and slight changes made by other artists.

Arias for All Seasons

Pillorikput Inuit (Blessed are the People): Inuktitut Arias for All Seasons is a cd of beautiful music. Soprano Deantha Edmunds-Ramsey, tenor cd cover Inuktitut Arias for All SeasonsKarrie Obed and the Innismara Vocal Ensemble sing sacred songs by Haydn, Handel and Moravian composers.

The songs were written in 18th and 19th Europe and brought to Labrador by Moravian missionaries. The Moravians first came to Labrador from Germany in the mid-1700s. Newfoundland Governor Hugh Palliser gave them rights to 100,000 acres of land in northern Labrador. They built mission posts and began their evangelical efforts.

For 200 years, the Moravians functioned as the government of northern Labrador. They operated schools, medical clinics and stores. During the 1900s, the HBC replaced them in trade, the Grenfell mission in health care, the federal and provincial government, and most recently, by the Inuit themselves under a self-government agreement. Religious life remained primarily Moravian, but with Inuit leadership rather than imported missionaries.

Labrador Moravian Music

Music was, and is, central in the Moravian church. “Three years of provisions and two French horns” is a CBC Radio documentary by MUN musicologist Tom Gordon.  Its title summarizes the credo of the early Moravian arrivals.

They and their converts translated sacred songs into Inuktitut, and formed brass bands and choirs. Over the years the music was deantha edmunds and karrie obed from cd caseadapted and arranged to fit the instruments and voices available. This music of 18th century Europe, transformed but still true to its original form, became a part of Labrador Inuit culture. The Moravian Church remained strong in Labrador long after missionaries stopped coming from Europe. Brass bands still played in the churches, choirs still sang.

Dr. Tom Gordon found long-forgotten musical manuscripts in church archives. Some of them had fallen into disuse, particularly the solos, due to the quality of voice needed to do them justice. Deantha Edmunds-Ramsey has that voice. The arias on this cd are a joy to hear, indeed, in all seasons.

You can get the cd from Deantha Edmunds-Ramsey on Facebook (you may have to log in yourself). Or contact Memorial University of Newfoundland’s School of Music.

Iry LeJeune

Lacassine-Special-record-earlycajunmusic.blogspot.ca_2014_08_01In James Lee Burke’s novel Cadillac Jukebox, a New Orleans mob guy brings a gift to Detective Dave Robichaux. A jukebox filled with 45s of classic Cajun recordings from the 1940s and ’50s.

‘There were two recordings of “La Jolie Blon” in the half-moon rack, one by Harry Choates and the other by Iry LeJeune. I had never thought about it before, but both men’s lives seemed to be always associated with that haunting, beautiful song, one that was so pure in its sense of loss you didn’t have to understand French to comprehend what the singer felt. “La Jolie Blon” wasn’t about a lost love. It was about the end of an era.’ (p. 198)

Iry-LeJeune-painting-by-George-Rodrigue-1971-wendyrodrigue.com_2011_04I wondered who Iry LeJeune was. With Professor Google’s help, I found his musical significance and traced his family tree. His 5th great-grandparents are Jean-Baptiste LeJeune dit Briard and Marguerite Trahan of Cape Breton. In the 1750s deportation, they went to North Carolina, then Maryland, finally settling in Louisiana.

Ira LeJeune, called Iry, was born in Acadia Parish October 1928 to Agness and Lucy (Bellard) LeJeune. Agness’ parents, Ernest and Alicia, both had the surname LeJeune.

Iry LeJeune Family Tree

Iry-LeJeune-family-tree
Click image for larger view

When a young boy, Iry learned to play the accordion from his cousin, uncle or great-uncle Angélas LeJeune, a well-known musicianIry-LeJeune-wendyrodrigue.com_2011_04. I could find nothing on Angélas’ parents, but I think he may have been a great-uncle on Iry’s grandmother’s side.

In an interview, fiddler Milton Vanicor and his daughter explain their kinship with Iry. Milton’s wife Odile and Iry were double first cousins – a LeJeune sister and brother married a Bellard brother and sister.

Linda, M. Vanicor’s daughter, says Angélas was Iry’s great-uncle but Milton-Vanicor Leslie Westbrook theadvertiser.com 2015:06:07doesn’t mention the same connection with her mother. When I saw Iry’s father’s mother was a LeJeune by birth, I wondered if Angélas might be her brother.

Milton Vanicor died June 5, 2015 at the age of 96. He was one of the last surviving Lacassine Playboys, the band he, his brothers and Iry formed in the 1940s. M. Vanicor was a veteran of the Battle of Iwo Jima. He played fiddle at festivals throughout the United States right up to his death.

Cajun's Greatest album Iry LeJeune
Click for Amazon link

Iry died in October 1955 age 28. Driving home after a gig, he was changing a flat when a passing car hit him. He left a wife and five children. His other legacy was reviving the popularity of Cajun music and making the accordion central to it again.

 

 

She Loves You

Some things you will never ever forget.  One, for me, is Ed Sullivan introducing “these CBS Beatles ad on tvyoungsters from Liverpool.”  Hands clenched on head, pulling at hair, “eek, aah, oohh”.  In the living room with parents, sitting on the floor in front of the television, screaming.  Watching John-Paul-George-and-Ringo, February 9, 1964. I still can hear “well, she was just seventeen, and you know what I mean, the way she looks, is way beyond compare.”

Even now – old enough to realize that my parents must have been looking askance at each other, each blaming the other’s gene pool for having produced such a half-wit of a child – the memory sends shivers through me.  After that and before, I watched bands I loved on girl-in-audience-screenshotEd Sullivan’s “shew”.  But the Beatles were “way beyond compare.”

I think we in North America were lucky in our introduction to them.  They were already an established sensation by the time they came on tour.  We already knew it was ok to like them; indeed being Beatle-crazy was de rigueur.  Probably in England, there had been girls who said ‘they’re ok but it’s Frankie and the Fruitcakes who are really going to make it big.’  In light of knighthoods, billions in sales and historical perspective of the musical and social change started by the Beatles, those girls probably still feel a bit silly.

Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein made a way bigger misjudgment. According to Terry O’Reilly on CBC’s Under the Influence, Epstein let someone else market Beatles products – at a 90/10 split, the 10% going to the Beatles.  Who didn’t buy a Beatle wig?  And I had Beatles cards tv screenshotBeatles bubblegum trading cards, uncut sheets.  My father got them from a friend at O-Pee-Chee Gum.  I cut them into individual cards, not keeping even one whole.  I could have retired on the proceeds of those.

The fact that none of the plentitude of Mersey Beat bands ever matched the Beatles’ success does not deny the success that many did achieve due to the spin-off effect.  The Beatles were not created in a vacuum; they were influenced by their contemporaries and they opened doors for others.  In September 1964, the Beatles came to Toronto.  My mother would not let me go, despite wheedling DC5 London Ont UWO Archives lfpress.com James Reaney 3Nov2011and tantrums.  Two months later, my friends and I stood along Oxford Street in London (Ont.), waiting for the Dave Clark Five to drive past. They were playing at Treasure Island Gardens and, again, my mother said I couldn’t go.  But being in that crowd of girls on the street, screaming our heads off, made up for a lot.  The Dave Clark Five weren’t the Beatles, but they were close enough. Tellingly, I have no memory of the Rolling Stones coming to London the next year. That suggests their music was beyond my pre-adolescent ken.

Beau-Brummels-Teen-Aug-66-beaubrummels.tripod.com_laugh_60sjpgTerry O’Reilly mentioned a 1960s band called the Beau Brummels. They were from California but their music and foppish suits seemed British.  And, maybe more importantly, their name put their records alphabetically right after the Beatles in record bins, thereby increasing their sales.

I will be watching the Beatles special February 9th  on CBS. I’ll probably sit on the floor as close as possible to the tv, maybe scream a little.  For sure, I’ll cry a little for four lads and a girl from long ago.

A Nation’s Songs

Whatever one might think of the US of A, they got good anthems. Watching Monday’s Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir Alicia Olatuja nydailynewsPresidential Inauguration, the high point for me was the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir giving it to the Battle Hymn of the Republic. What a song!  What voices!  (click to hear)

Wonderful as it is, the Battle Hymn of the Republic isn’t the only great song that Americans can sing at special events. And they all came out at President Obama’s Inauguration. James Taylor sang America the Beautiful and Kelly Clarkson gave a nice country twang to My Country tis of Thee. Beyoncé closed out the nation’s music with the official anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

Star-Spangled-Banner-1908-1919 Lib of Congress PDI especially like The Star-Spangled Banner because of the story behind it. As a Canadian, I feel a bit proprietorial about it. It came from an 1814 British Navy attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. The American forces won that battle and the tattered flag still proudly flew atop the fort. That sight prompted poet Francis Scott Key to write the words that, when set to music, became the national anthem. Despite winning that battle, the Americans lost the war. But they got a great anthem out of it.  Lemons and lemonade: the fabled American entrepreneurial spirit.

My Country tis of Thee was the de facto anthem prior to the official selection of The Star-Spangled Banner in 1931. It uses the same melody as the older God Save the King/Queen. America the Beautiful also was used as an anthem and efforts have continued through the years to make it the official anthem or at least an official national hymn. The arguments presented for it as national anthem are that, compared to The Star-Spangled Banner, its melodic arrangement is easier to sing and its sentiments are not evocative of war.

Anthem double meanings

Hartford circus fire 6 Jul 1944The official national march of the US is The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa. It is customarily played after the President gives a speech at a public event or ceremony. In circus and entertainment venues, it is called “the Disaster March” and is played only to signal to performers and personnel that there is a serious emergency.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic has its origins in the Civil War, on the Union side. But the tune was written a bit earlier, in 1856, being first used in a camp hymn called “Canaan’s Happy Shore” or “Brothers, Will You Meet Me?”. Early in the Civil War, Union soldiers used the tune as a marching song, with their own words. “John Brown’s body lies a’mouldering in the grave” was a bit of poking fun at one of their members named John Brown and the memory of the anthem sheet music Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic_Lib of Congress abolitionist John Brown who was hung after an attack on the Armory at Harper’s Ferry in 1859.

In November 1861 Julia Ward Howe put new words to the tune at the request of a friend, Rev. James Freeman Clarke. The Battle Hymn of the Republic as we know it was born. Indeed, the melody and the words do stir one to an overwhelming urge to march or at minimum stand to attention and salute. It has become perhaps the pre-eminent national hymn of the US. For the most part, its allegiance to one side of the Civil War is overlooked.

Powerful music all. And in the lyrics, melody or musical adaptation of each, a part of the history of the nation is told.

Mr. Otto Kelland

A while back, I was looking online for a family in response to a query.  I found them.  A note on their kinship chart said the wife was sister of Otto Kelland, maker of the model fishing boats displayed at the Fisheries College in St. John’s and composer of the song Let Newfoundland Museum Duckworth Street St. John'sMe Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s.  I sat back, stared at the screen and said “Wow!”

Instantly I was back in the Newfoundland Museum, the old one on Duckworth Street, about 1982.  I worked as a weekend attendant and we tried to have a staff person on each floor, to keep an eye on things and be available to visitors who had questions.  One Saturday, I was on the 3rd floor, the Newfoundland history display.

Two men stopped for a long time at the display case of model fishing boats.  The older man would point a finger to something on one of them while talking.  Their conversation looked interesting, so I wandered over close enough that I could eavesdrop.  I had spent a lot of time studying those models.  I loved the workmanship and I would compare all the Newfoundland Monkstown dory model by Otto Kellandlittle parts, seeing what made one type of vessel different from another.

Father and son, as it turned out they were, noticed me nearby and included me in their discussion.  After knowledgeably talking about the models, the elder man explained to me:  “I built these, y’see.”  I thought, sure you did, just after you finished the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  We had a lot of rather odd people who spent time in the museum.  But the more he talked, the more likely it seemed that he really had built these model ships.

Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s

The son decided introductions were in order so he told me his name and “this is my father, Otto Kelland.”  I sneaked a peak at the cards propped beside the model ships just to verify what I already knew:  made by Otto Kelland.  Then another realization hit me:  Otto Kelland also was the name of the man who wrote the most beautiful Newfoundland song I’d ever heard.  I said “Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s?”  “Oh yes my dear, that was me,” he laughed.

panorama of Cape St. Mary'sMy eyes filled up as I stared at him, open-mouthed.  I felt like a fool, but I was totally awestruck.  The beautiful models that I had spent so many hours looking at, the song that moved me to tears every time I heard it – and the maker of both smiling at me.

Then we reversed roles up there on the 3rd floor.  The museum attendant was given a tour by the museum patron.  Mr. Kelland explained the design and equipment of the fishing vessels using his models as illustration.  Then he took me and Otto Kellandhis son around the other displays of fishing stages and stores, industrial equipment and household items.  I learned more that day about my museum and about Newfoundland than I ever had before.

I’ve never forgotten the thrill of meeting him that day.  And seeing that note about him on a genealogy page brought it all back fresh as the day it happened.  So I’m proud to say that Mr. Otto P. Kelland is now entered in my database.

Amazon link for Dories and Dorymen by Otto Kelland*If you’ve never heard the song, here’s a beautiful version by The Irish Descendants.  Also here’s a book written by Otto Kelland on Amazon: Dories and Dorymen

 

Stompin’ Tom Revisited

Thank you CBC Radio!  Just when I think I’ll never hear anything that I haven’t heard at least once already in any given day or week, you give me a wonderful treat.

Stompin’ Tom Connors – his songs and his conversation in radio interviews and call-in stompin tom album cover My Stompin' Groundsshows from the CBC archives.  Last Sunday on Radio One on Inside the Music (listen here).  If you know him and love his music, you will truly enjoy this.  If you know him and think ho hum, take a listen to him talking about his life and where the songs came from.  If you have no idea who he is, listen so that you may learn about someone central to Canadian music and Canadian pride.

My mother was a fan of Stompin’ Tom so I grew up with his music.  I don’t know if ‘Tillsonburg’ was the first song of his she heard, but it was her favourite.  She’s from Aug 1986 priming tobacco West Lorne Fodor farm from elgin.caTillsonburg and she worked in tobacco – one season.  She understood, and connected with, every word.  That’s what Stompin’ Tom songs do for Canadians and Canada.  He is the quintessential Canadian; born in New Brunswick, raised in PEI and has worked out west, in Ontario and pretty much every part of the country.

In the doc, he talks about meeting people who had recently returned from visiting Germany.  The Germans they were with one evening sang their country’s folksongs then asked to hear some songs about Canada.  They couldn’t think of one except for Oh Canada.  So Tom, over the Stompin' Tom accepts 1973 Junoyears, set about writing those songs.  He created the folk songs about our country.

There are strong regional music traditions in Canada.  Certainly Newfoundland, the Maritimes and Quebec are rich in traditional songs that tell the history of their places, events and people.  The west is the homeland of country and western.  But songs about Canada as a whole or regional songs known outside those regions?  Like Woody Guthrie, Stompin’ Tom both created and popularized the music of a land.

‘Stompin’ from St. John’s to Tillsonburg

me with Stompin' Tom in St. John'sThe first time I saw Stompin’ Tom perform was in St. John’s at the old Memorial arena.  He was on a small dais and the audience was seated in front, all of us on the covered ice surface.  It was close and personal.  He didn’t mind you getting out in the aisle taking his picture and he stayed after the performance for a long time signing autographs and talking to fans.

Years later I saw him in Tillsonburg.  The sound system was atrocious.  It was almost impossible to make out his words when he was singing or talking.  But it was worth every cent and more when he started Tillsonburg (My back still aches).  The place went up!  You couldn’t hear him over everyone singing along.  (You can listen to him singing it in Hamilton by clicking the title, also below for Sudbury Saturday Night.)

In his songs, Stompin’ Tom gets at the heart of the people and landscape of every one of stompin tom autograph on cigarette packour regions.  And by focusing on the particular, he speaks to the whole of this large and sometimes fragmented nation.  Thank you, CBC, for the chance to hear him talk about how and why he made the music and to tap my foot and sing along with Sudbury Saturday Night.  You don’t have to have ever been in Sudbury to ‘get it’.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Mar. 4/12)

Fiz saying I love the sinner as John nears deathJohn Stape’s death scene Friday was very touching.  Despite him being a total nutbar, I will miss him.  The character of John Stape was perfectly cast with Graeme Hawley.  I guess I’m hoping a bit that, on Monday, John suddenly returns from flatlining and makes his escape from hospital.

Especially for scenes like Thursday’s when he was schooling hostage Rosie in what to John explaining to Rosie from graph what happenedsay to the court to exonerate Fizz.

As he has said repeatedly as justification for his acts of crime and/or stupidity, he lives to teach.  So he had a bulletin board and markers and made a graph of all activities at the times of the deaths of the Fishwick mother and son and of Charlotte.  He also had photos and diagrams showing what and where to help Rosie memorize the facts.  During what had John marking Rosie's written testto be a very long night for both of them, he set Rosie homework about the sequence of events and tested her recall with written and oral quizzes.  Rosie with duct tape over her mouth, John in front of her using a pen as pointer going over the highpoints of the nights in question.  Then removing the tape so she could repeat the sequence back to him.  Rosie, in a wonderful combination of fear and ditziness, was not the ideal student John hoped for.  Oh, it was just perfect.  A masterpiece of writing and acting by both of them.

John in car booking flat viewingAlso perfect was the set up to this, his second kidnapping of Rosie.  Sitting in his car, calling the real estate agent to set up a viewing of Jason’s flat, he had to come up with a name.  He sees a guy guy with container of chips walks past John's carwalking down the street with a package of chips.  “Mr. Chips,” he gave as his name.  You knew that, even with her Oak Hill education, Rosie Webster would not think anything odd about that name.  And Jason?  No, he wouldn’t catch it.  I thought maybe Kevin would.   But it’s not really surprising that in the heat of the moment, realizing that his daughter is missing, Kevin wouldn’t take notice of such an iconic name in the world of fictional educators.


I did think, at some point, as John’s situation unraveled and more and more people became party, that someone would say ‘he called himself Mr. Chips?’  But, so far, no one has so maybe it will remain John Stape’s final and personal little literary pun.

There was another scene this week that was going to be my pick, but there will be more about it later, I believe, so I won’t tell what it was.  Also this week saw the real-life death of Davy Jones, known to the world as “the cute Davy Jones as Ena's grandson on Coronation StreetMonkee”, to connoisseurs of Corrie as a child actor portraying Ena Sharples’ grandson, and to the American and English horse racing world as a horse owner and former amateur steeplechase jockey.  His horses, children and wife will miss him sorely and so will we all.

Going to Graceland

Thirty-four years ago, Graceland became a memorial shrine.  The day before, August 16th 1977, the King of Rock and Roll had died in it, his home.

Andrea-and-Memphis-Caddy-(photo-H.-Edison)Despite liking Elvis, Graceland had never been on my ‘must-see’ list.  But passing through Memphis once, it seemed wrong not to see Elvis’ house.

Even pulling into the parking lot, though, I had quibbles.  “Our money will be going straight to Priscilla and Lisa Marie’s pockets,” I said, “there’s starving children who need this money.”  Still, we bought our tickets and went in.

Oh, I hope the starving children can understand the cultural value of Graceland.  It is wonderful.  Not just the place itself but those touring it and those working in it.  It is Graceland media-roomMecca for American culture in the latter half of the 20th century.

Our tour group shuffled through the house, oohing and aahing over the opulence, the excess, the fact that Elvis the King sat in these rooms.  The tour guide was informative and clearly enjoyed her job.  She was a child when Elvis died but she “got” him – the house, the magic.

Las Vegas jumpsuit Graceland museumThen the outbuildings, the museums of Elvis stuff.  His collections of firearms and police badges are laid out in glass cases.  There are rooms of display cases filled with gifts he was given.  His costumes, his gold records.  There’s every award and honourable mention he received from anyone anywhere.  Presumably there’s museum curators working behind these public rooms, sorting, preserving, cataloguing a life of a man.

You can tour the grounds.  A paddock near the house had about six horses in it.  A couple of them would remember Elvis.  The others were Lisa Marie’s and Priscilla’s.  They came charging over to the fence, Graceland horse paddocklooking for treats.  I pulled handles of grass, fearful I was going to be yelled at but no one said anything.  The horses happily munched the grass.

Quite close by is Elvis’ grave.  The true believers circle around it, taking pictures, looking down misty-eyed.  They stay there a long time.

Beside the parking lot, near the entrance, Elvis’ planes are parked.  The smaller one is called the Lisa Marie, both have TCB with a lightning bolt painted on them.

Elvis' dog Edmund-and-sitter-GracelandMy favourite moment happened while standing in line for the Elvis memorabilia museum.  Over on the lawn by the house, a small elderly dog was tottering around with an elderly woman.  I asked a young man checking tickets about the dog.  “That’s Edmund, Elvis’ dog,” he said, “he lives with Elvis’ aunt.”  I asked who the lady was.  “She’s a maid and her job is looking after Edmund.”  When I asked if I could go closer, he said no.  “It’s really for your safety.  He’s a nasty little dog.”  I liked his candor but wondered if that was why he was doing crowd control in the blazing sun rather than leading tours inside.

Andrea-at-Graceland-(photo-H-Edison)Edmund has left the building, and probably Elvis’ horses have too.  But I’m sure the magic of them and Elvis are still there in Graceland.  Taking care of business.

The pictures of Edmund and the horse paddock are mine from 1990.  My cousin Andrea Hutchison very kindly let me use photos from her 2011 trip to Memphis.

Car Music

I once had an old Chevy Monza hatchback, a ’75.  It came with a banged-in fender that didn’t seemmy 1975 Chevy Monza worth fixing.  The rest of the body was so rusted that, well, what would be the point?  The car was bought as an immediate and probably short-term solution to my previous car dying at a time I had very little money.  But I quickly grew to love it.  It was my baby muscle car.

I realized that car needed rock and roll.  Until then, and since, my radio dial just stays on CBC.  It might flip from Radio One to Radio Two but that’s it.  But not for this car.  I had to search for a rock station that I could tolerate listening to.  It’s what the car wanted.

The car got something else in its life with me.  It was the exact same colour of orange as the City vehicles.  One day I came out to find very large City decals on both doors, the same as City dumptrucks, pickups and cars had.  As I told the City workers that came to my door a couple weeks later to remove the decals, I don’t know where they came from.  The City workers used a blowtorch to take them off, which didn’t do a lot for the car’s paint job.  But in the time that they were there, it was fun.  I could park anywhere.  I got very odd looks from City employees who saw the car.  The condition of it really was a disgrace.  I avoided driving it anywhere near City Hall, but the City officials still tracked me down and sent men to take my decals.  The car died forever not long after that.

I went back to CBC with my next cars.  There’s only been one car since then that my 2002 MINIdemanded its own music.  That’s my Mini Cooper S, and it’s only sporadic.  On sunny summer days, it wants old rock and roll.  The car and I welcome the first warm, sunny day with the Beach Boys.  I crank the volume and roll down the windows.  “Daddy took the T-bird away” and “Little Deuce Coupe” speak directly to my foot and gear-shifting hand.  I got six gears and I want to go through them as fast as possible.

Other than the Beach Boys, girl groups and Jerry Lee Lewis, the Mini is happy to listen to CBC Radio One and Two.  But hot summer days need summer music.

St. Thomas now has its own radio station – 94.1 FM on the dial.  I’ve got it in the presets, just in case. And, just in case you should want them, here are some classic songs to drive to.