Hold That Train…

My curiosity about musical taste is entering another generation. In the past few years as my friends’ kids get to be in their teen years, I’m always intrigued and sometimes surprised by what they’ve chosen when mining for gold in previous generations’ music. My fascination stems from the idea that’s firmly lodged in my head that my generation’s (I claim the 60’s but it was really the early 70’s) music was a sharp, distinct break from what came before and although there were nostalgic tv shows like “Happy Days”, we were not nostalgic for the music of the 50’s or earlier and it wasn’t until I was in college that I allowed myself to go back there. The irony is that there was outrageously great music in the 50’s and before and really at all times, it just wasn’t what was presented to us as youngsters. The great music of the 50’s wasn’t so much Bill Haley and the Comets and “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” (although “The Ballad Of Davy Crockett” still appeals to me as kitsch and a reminder of the repression of the times), it was Miles, Coltrane and Brubeck. So now when nephews and friends’ kids decide they really like old Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Doors etc., I think to myself… well, of course they do, it holds up extremely well. I’ve given in to the nostalgia lately a bit by getting CD’s from the library of old rock and roll from my youth because I’m not willing to pay money for the 3rd format change of the same music (LP, cassette tape, and now CD… never owned an 8 track). Some of this holds up really well and some I just listen to once and think, what was I thinking? For example, love that old Stevie Wonder but Grand Funk Railroad just doesn’t do it for me anymore. So on to Sofia… when she was 3, when we were in the car, she had to listen to a particular song on a Counting Crows CD. Every time the part in the song “Goodnight Elizabeth” where Adam goes, “… set myself on fire and walk out on the wire once again”, she would turn and stare out the window and mouth the words. Of course, we were amused and after playing the song about 500 times, not so much… but the explanation of her affection for the song probably had more to do with our neighbor’s name being Elizabeth than anything else. When she was 4 and much to her grandmother’s dismay, it was Ani DiFranco in the car with the crazy guitar and the song “Gravel” where she says, “fight, fight, fight”. She’s 5 now and has been going through a Third Eye Blind phase and yesterday while accompanying me on my work couch, she came in with a CD and asked if I would play it… Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials. I said, “you really like this one?” and she said yeah. I said, “why’s that?” and she strummed her air guitar and said… “the guitar, the guitar” and started dancing around. She also wanted me to point out on the CD jacket which one was Lil’ Ed, here’s a pic of him with his trademark fez…

Now, Lil’ Ed is pure, hard-driving westside Chicago blues. His calling card is the beautiful, captivating and definitely low down greasy slide guitar. So I pop in the CD and Sofia comes in and dances like she’s on fire for a couple minutes and then sits down with me. She usually asks me about the lyrics which can be pretty entertaining discussions in themselves because she doesn’t quite get what a metaphor is yet. In the first song called “Hold That Train”, toward the end Lil’ Ed says… “next stop, Chicago” and Sofia says, why did he say Chicago? I say… I think he lives in Chicago. She says, maybe he will come to your show in Chicago. I say, well, I don’t know but maybe. She says, well, if you see him at your show, tell him your daughter really likes his music. I say, will do. See you there Lil’ Ed…

Here’s some more in progress shots…


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4 Responses to “Hold That Train…”

  1. meredith Says:

    I grew up with folk,Jazz and classical.
    I have a soft spot for good jazz.
    I think Sofia is on target and you should invite Lil’ ED- would be dancing good time!

  2. ron Says:


  3. ang Says:

    nice hat!!!

  4. elizabeth burtt Says:

    I had an interesting conversation with my neighbour this morning regarding kids and musical choice. He had come over to scan music for his orchestra(he’s a cellist) and we were discussing the musical war in my house.
    My kids are 14 and 15years old and can’t agree on music at all. He is a jazz purist and she likes hard drivin rock and roll, hip hop,edgy punk and some pop music.
    I believe that eventually they will come to realize that they are closer in musical appreciation than they realize. They have been exposed to it all, and deep down they still have some tried and true favorites from the early years in common.
    -monkey and the enginer by the grateful dead
    -que sera sera, doris day
    -the entire album of the ramones live in new york
    -Cripple creek by the band
    I personally enjoy all of it.

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