Sunday, January 18, 2015

How is your musical memory?

I received an e-mail this morning from Erica a friend who is a long standing on air radio personality in Florida asking a question about a song she heard that seemed to share a title with a song from our past. I played the U-Tube video she attached and it didn’t seem familiar at first. So I replied that it might sound familiar because the title was a reference to a bible verse.

However, while reading the newspaper, something started to nag at me. Was I right or was there another song out there with the same title, “You Reap What You Sew”? A small itch in my memory grew bigger and bigger until I couldn’t stand it anymore. So down went the paper and up I went to the computer. I pulled up my favorite music reference site ( and searched for the title! BAM! There is was, cut 4 of disk 1 of the two disk album by Duane Allman; “An Anthology, Volume 2”! This track featured Otis Rush, one of the many co-artists on the album, including: Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, Ronnie Hawkins, Wilson Pickett, Arthur Conley, Herbie Mann, Delaney & Bonnie, Chuck Berry and Lulu just to name the ones on the first disk. Oh my! How could I have forgotten this classic album released in 1974 that had so many great tracks on it?

In my defense, I think what threw me off was that the new track is neo-soul and the one in my memory bank was southern rock/blues. Once I realized my mistake, I sent another e-mail to Erica correcting myself. The next thing I did was to pull up the album online and enjoy some fantastic tunes from forty one years ago. As the tracks ran through the hallways of my memories, I could see in my mind’s eye the studio sessions recorded in some the great birthplaces of the music we all loved. Although not identified in the album notes, at least one of the tracks sounds like it was recorded in the FAME studios in Muscle Shoals Alabama. The tracks had that unique sound I could listen to all day. Those FAME session musicians are my second favorite only to The Funk Brothers who backed almost every track that came out of Motown’s Hitsville USA.

Sadly, Duane himself never got a chance to enjoy this album because he was killed in a motorcycle accident only months after the release and initial success of At Fillmore East on October 29, 1971, in the western part of Macon, Georgia, during a band break from touring and recording.

I used to joke about how I needed to unload some of those old music lyrics from my memory so that I could learn something new. But now I am starting to believe that some of those memories are overwriting each other. I heard recently that “senior moments” where it takes a moment or so to connect with a specific memory like a name or a location occurs because as we grow older there are so many more bits of memory to connect with that it takes a while to re-establish the connection. That’s OK with me, most of the time. Occasionally this happens to me while I am on the air and I can’t remember a fact until the post has already past on the song I am talking up. When that happens, it may be a little embarrassing, but it’s fun bringing back that little tidbit from the past and sharing it.

So dear friends I leave you today with some great Allman Brothers ringing in my ears. Up next in the queue is “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek and the Dominos. Yes, Duane contributed heavily to this album as a session musician. He may be gone now but "Skydog" will forever be fingering that Fender Telecaster, modified with a Stratocaster neck in my memory. Thanks, Erica! Oh MY!

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