Lynne d Johnson



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07.15.04 07:34 PM

me, the 60s, billboard charts, and the iTunes Music store

A couple of days ago while I was browsing the Apple iTunes Music Store, I decided to look up what was hot on the Billboard charts for the year that I was born. There was Aretha, Marvin, Stevie, and that was cool, I have most of that stuff already in my collection, whether on vinyl, cassette, or cd. Besides that's the safe stuff. The stuff that Mommy and Daddy used to listen to. The stuff most familiar to my soul. But truth is, just because I'm African-American, R&B, Soul, Funk, whatever, aren't the only genres of music that float my boat.

And this 60s stuff I've been digging for awhile. I like the really psychedellic shit, and the other shit with break beats, and wailing guitar solos. When I attended State University of New York The College at New Paltz, just a rock's throw from Woodstock, it was normal to be surrounded by this music. In fact, when I used to work in the kitchen, I had this one cook named Manny make me a few tapes. One of my favorite artists was Lesley Gore - I know, corny pop stuff, but really no different than Dionne Warwick. Actually more punchy and youthful sounding even. Interestingly enough, Lesley Gore's music turns up in quite a few movies, especially gay themed ones.

The year of my birth was a good year musically, according to Billboard, but somehow the streams weren't coming up as quickly as I wanted them to, so I only ended up purchasing three selections and then an album I'd been wanting for a hot minute. I even went into a few years before and then after the year of my birth to find things that would appeal to whatever craving it was that I had.

"White Rabbit," by Jefferson Airplane is about as psychedelic as you can get. The song's lyrics talk about pills and mushrooms, chasing white rabbits, and going to ask Alice. Now when I was in the 5th grade, I remember a friend lending me a book called Go Ask Alice, and it was interesting how drawn to it I was, since I had never really read young adult books because I found them boring. But this novel was an anonymously written diary about an addicted teen, and it was full of self-hatred and lonliness. It's classic teenage angst, and that's what I feel from this song. But I also feel like I'm watching Absolutely Fabulous, which I can get with. I understand this emotion. It's pure.

I also purchased "I Can See For Miles," by the Who. This one is about the rhythm. There's a lot of arpeggio going on here with the guitar and the snare, but it's also a little trippy. Did you ever see Goldie Hawn when she was younger and used to go-go dance on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In? Well that's kind of where this song takes me. Right there, into that setting.

Then there's "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf, and no one on God's green earth can tell me that this one is not about getting high. How the hell else are we going on a magic carpet ride? "Close your eyes girl/ look inside girl/ let the sound take you away...." And the sound goes into this trance-like orgasmic run of flat organ chords bouncing wildly over guitar strumming. Yeah, ok, the music will take you away alright. But I like this ish.

The three songs above resonate with me just as much as any R&B song could ever. Ok, I'll say hip-hop, because I'm not really the truest fan of contemporary R&B.

Now the album I downloaded, that's the kicker. It's Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rare Earth. I'm speechless on this one. It's like a combination of War, The Temptations, and The Doors. Man I'm glad I was born in the 60s. Yep that's right, I said I'm glad I was born in the 60s.

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"1970. The biggest act was the Jackson 5 (presented by Diana Ross). They even ended the year with a Christmas album (which I still play to this day). The Temptations experimented with Psychedelic Shack (one of my first albums). James......" [read more]
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