Lynne d Johnson

 

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02.27.04 03:39 PM

late night tales

i remember daddy. i remember the way he smiled. how he used the words "baby" and "nigga" interchangably as if they were one-and-the-same. and of course for him they were. he was peachy georgia from his stubby fingertips to the tips of his toes. and though he was transplanted to new york by the time he was two-years-old, that georgia laid-back intertwined with that new york cool co-existing fluidly until the day he died. shit, it still hovers over me. it moves through me. it's buried somewhere in my soul.

i think of daddy now, after popping in jamiroquai: late night tales. the cd makes me want to remember daddy. makes me remember daddy. makes me remember him. yeah, i'm a daddy's girl, through-and-through.

but why is it that i remember him? it's this music. this 70s throwback, funky, groovy stuff that jay-kay selected for this installment of late night. yeah, rae & christrain also picked "california dreaming," by jose feliciano for their another late night (from a totally different label), but it works here too.

as the rolling piano starts up on "happiness" by the pointer sisters, i remember daddy being taken by them as we sat and watched the midnight special hosted by wolfman jack late on friday nights. knowing damn well i should be in bed, he had me there by his side, watching the performers and listening to what was once his down-home blues and gospel merge and transform into funky soul and disco.

wow, these are good memories too. staying up late and not even a teenager yet. but it was because daddy loved the music. and he knew i loved it too. he could see it in my eyes. he could hear it in my virtuous solos on sunday mornings in church. he could hear it in my thunderous fast-paced hand claps. man, he could even see it in my footsteps, as i imitated all the latest dances i'd seen on soul train the saturday before.

back to the cd. second song, "girl, i think the world about you," by the commodores. damn jay kay, you got daddy down to a "T." i can see the 8-tracks now. the columbia house collection growing and growing. and the baddest 8-track player you could ride around in your car with that i had ever seen. the light emitting from it shone bright purple at night. i have belongings around me now that remind me of it. the light from my own car stereo emits a hint of violet light. the gel wrist and mouse pads, here now, as i type this entry, they are of a violet hue too.

but that 8-track player, you could pull it out when you left your car, and the benzi box hadn't even come out yet. yes sir, daddy was georgia laid-back and new york cool.

daddy didn't have to say much, for as big and broad as he was, no one ever messed with him. but he was gentle. oh so gentle. loved my mother madly. and not like he was perfect or anything, lord knows he had his faults. but right now, i just remember him and the music. those damn midnight special episodes and that cool-ass 8-track player that made my heart wonder what a disco might be like. so as my older brother and sister started venturing off to the dances, daddy made me my own at home, and in the car, and taught me how to get lost in the music. taught me how to respect the music and treat it like a lover.

sometimes i feel like i might not even understand music the way i do, had it not been for him. from sharing in miles and coltrane, to war and issac hayes, his taste in music definitely became mine. his support for my love of music encouraged me to dabble in poetic lyrical writing, sing in church, and to handle that tenor saxaophone in middle school jazz band. damn jay kay, this late night shit is taking me back.

sometimes i miss daddy. lost him twenty years ago. wonder what he'd think if he knew that i sometimes write about music. that i sometimes help others to understand music and think about music. sometimes, i really miss him.

pardon me while i pop in this here baaddasssss cinema soundtrack.

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