Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Christmas 1969

My oldest brother recently started reading this blog, and it reminded me of an ages old Christmas musical moment. I have two siblings, both older brothers. My middle brother (for lack of a better term) is 2 years older than me, and my oldest brother is 6 plus years my senior. In 1969, my oldest brother left college to play bass guitar in a famous one-hit wonder rock band, and he was touring and did not get home for the holiday. 

But he sent presents home. He sent me and my middle brother one gift- a package that contained exactly seven record albums for us to share/divide. Now if you know anything about sibling rivalry, you'll understand how twisted this move was. Seven is a hard number to divide two ways, and sharing things is not the strong suit of adolescent brothers (we did date the same girl once, but not at the same time). I honestly don't remember the outcome, and I know we didn't really fight about it, but it was a dilemma on which we no doubt spent hours and hours of deliberation. We were, after all, 14 and 16 years old, so what else did we have to do? I know that I ended up with the Band and The Sons Of Champlin records eventually. They're in the living room now.

Do I remember all seven of the titles? No, I do not, but I sure wish I did. This blog post would be way better if I remembered them all. I do absolutely remember four of them, and they were Music From Big Pink 1968 by The Band, Cream's Wheels Of Fire 1968, the first Dr. John "The Night Tripper" album, Gris-Gris 1968, and The Sons Of Champlin Loosen Up Naturally 1969. I think two of the  other three were Procol Harum 1967, and Mother Earth, with Tracy Nelson singing her signature "Down So Low", on Living With The Animals 1968, but I really can't be sure.

Two of those records, Music From Big Pink and Loosen Up Naturally were the opening salvos from bands I would follow for the rest of their careers. The Band is one of my all-time favorites, and The Sons come pretty close. The Gris-Gris album was and is a trip to the (swampy New Orleans) beach . Let's just say it is not the Dr. John of Right Place, Right Time fame. This is much darker terrain. And what can I say about Wheels Of Fire? Not a great Cream record. Either that, or their best. It's definitely eclectic, and you don't get many times to use that oft-overused term accurately these days.

I was already way into music, but it was one hot bundle o' wax. I certainly don't remember any of the other presents I got that year.

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